The Myth Of Unlimited Hosting Bandwidth

The Myth Of Unlimited Hosting Bandwidth

Like any other service provider, a web hosting company will try their best to woo customers by creating the impression that what they are offering is better than what you can get from their competitors. They have therefore devised attractive phrases such as unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email addresses; unlimited everything. In itself, the technology that the hosting providers use in the provision of the ‘unlimited’ services has a limited capacity. This invites the question of how unlimited these ‘unlimited’ services are.

Let’s take the promise for unlimited bandwidth as an example. In simple terms, bandwidth refers to the amount of data transferred into and out of your space on the server in a unit time. Unlimited bandwidth therefore implies that your users can transfer any amount of data to your web space without exceeding the server’s limit. This understanding exposes your hosting provider’s promise of ‘unlimited bandwidth’ as highly unrealistic. It is technically not possible for the company to support an unlimited amount of bandwidth. The server on which your website resides has a limit on the amount of data that it can transfer in a unit time.

How else does the same server support unlimited transfer from not one but several websites that reside on it? In reality, there is a limit on the amount of data and information that can flow through the servers’ circuits and output channels. The hosting provider gambles on the fact that websites that are hosted through the low cost plans cannot exhaust the server’s bandwidth. Whenever this limit is reached, responses for requests from users of your website will delayed leading and they will start complaining that your website is slow.

Most of us are attracted to ‘unlimited’ although our websites may never reach the demand for high amounts of bandwidth. Bandwidth costs money. As we have seen, ‘unlimited bandwidth’ is usually offered with low cost hosting plans. This creates the question of how this is possible from a business perspective. This does not necessarily mean that the hosting companies are dishonest as most of them will have defined what ‘unlimited’ is in their terms and conditions of service. The term unlimited is therefore just a phrase in the marketing language of web hosting service providers.