Are you buying Web Hosting with Unlimited Quotas? If you have recently signed up for a shared hosting account or are looking into purchasing one, you must have noticed, that some hosting providers offer plans with unlimited features.
Most of the time no limits are set for creation of e-mail and ftp-accounts, as well as hosting of addon and subdomains. Some hosting companies, however, have plans that provide unlimited disk space and bandwidth quotas, what may look somewhat strange.
Accounts with such specifications may look both attractive and frightening. Some people may sign-up for those and then get disappointed and some may choose another host due to the lack of the trust and lose a perfect opportunity. This article is kind of a research, which aims at revealing some hidden reefs and highlighting overt advantages of such plans and quotas.
Unlimited Disk Space
This kind of quota looks very weird. Say, you are hosted on a shared server with RAID 10 4x1TB hard drives – does this quota enable you to upload 2TB of files? This is definitely not possible. Then a question emerges: what should be taken for unlimited and how many files can you actually host?
This is where you should refer to your provider’s Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy. The thing is that hosting service providers have a clear policy on disk storage usage for shared hosting accounts and the main point to address there is media files hosting. Media files (.bmp, .mp3, .avi, .pdf, etc) are either not allowed or their size is limited to 500 Kb or 1 Mb at maximum. Are you interested in uploading 2096 1Mb-size files to reach the physical limit?
Although such quota and a correspondent policy may look tricky, one should keep in mind that it is not just about HDD capacity, but also about server resources. Large files take more server resources to get processed and this causes disk subsystem and general server load.
A plan with unlimited disk space may perfectly fit those, who are going to host multiple domains and have several email accounts – on the one hand you cannot physically violate any policy, on the other hand – such quota sets you free from constant old files or messages clearing.
This quota looks more real. First of all, today technologies grant a much faster Internet connectivity, secondly – considering all possible visit rates, e-mail and file traffic volumes, as well as the number of publicly available content of your site or sites, the monthly bandwidth usage rate is not going to be higher than 1-2 TB, which is a common average quota provided by most hosts.
Unlimited E-mail and FTP-accounts
Those quotas may be considered harmless. There is actually no difference whether you host 5 or 50 mailboxes or FTP-accounts, as long as no load is created on the server. The load may be created in two ways – by establishing too many connections to the server during file/email transfer and by intensive disk subsystem usage, usually caused by rapid transfer of either large files or big amount (over a hundred) of smaller files (pictures, email attachments, etc.).
This quota is also fine, though it also requires some attention to the server load. The points to keep an eye on are same – connectivity and file or mail transfer. What is fine with a couple of domains may cause problems with 20-30 or more of them. Whatever the number of hosted domains is, in fact you are using a sole account – so the server logs pick statistics for only one user.
If this user exceeds the server resource usage limits – the admins take the required measures. As long as domain is a virtual host, having too many of them may lead to the overload of the webserver. Multiple requests, http-file transfer – all those processes may kill your hosting server and lead to the suspension of your hosting account.
Now, when those quotas look a bit clearer, it may become easier to make a decision, whether to sign-up for such an account or not. A conclusive tip for all the explanations and pieces of advice above may sound so: follow the policies and use your hosting space reasonably.
If your account starts overloading the server – consider optimization steps or an upgrade; if there are just too many sites for a single account – order a couple of such cheap accounts (more recommended on different servers) to grant better fail safety and performance.
Guest author Arkadij “Archie” Shkolnik is administrator / author of SiteValley corporate blog svhostingblog.com; and PR Manager of SiteValley.com web hosting company, the provider of affordable and reliable Linux hosting for personal and small business web sites. Image credits to Jamison Judd under CC license.