If you're looking to invest some serious time and effort into building an online business, then unlimited hosting sounds like a dream come true. On the face of it, unlimited hosting would seem to imply web hosting with absolutely no restrictions - in disk space, domains, email accounts, database set-ups and so on. This is exactly the sort of thing any self respecting webmaster should be looking for. But, in web hosting as in so much else in life, the devil is in the detail. As always, it pays to check the small print before you sign up to an unlimited web hosting package.
Having said that, of course, there's no need to be paranoid about it. Most web hosts are honest and ethical business service providers. But there are a few unscrupulous providers out there, or at least some who are not quite as upfront about their "unlimited" services as they should be. It's simply a matter of finding the right deal for you.
Different kind of unlimited host
The main thing to bear in mind is that it always pays to shop around. If you're looking for unlimited web hosting, talk to several providers. Ask them to clarify what they mean by "unlimited". Their definition may be very different to yours!
For example, most webmasters are looking for unlimited bandwidth. If you're building an online business, you anticipate that the business will grow. You need to be sure that your website can handle the amount of traffic that you intend it to receive. However, this is one area where your idea of unlimited and the host's idea of unlimited could mean very different things. In some cases, it might mean that you're only allowed a certain amount of bandwidth at the start of your contract, with more being added as time goes on. In theory, this is "unlimited", since you can continue adding bandwidth indefinitely, but it may not be what you had in mind.
Never feel pressurized into accepting an unlimited web hosting package. Some companies like to use the "time limited" offer as a sales tactic. In reality, there are always good deals to be had, so don't jump straight into the first one you come across in the belief that you won't be able to find another. The same sort of deals, or even better ones, will be there next week or next month or even next year, despite what the hosting companies say.
How can be a host unlimited?
It's also worth bearing in mind the reason unlimited web hosting exists at all. Just as airlines oversell their tickets, in the knowledge that a certain percentage of passengers just won't turn up, hosting companies oversell their server space. They do this because they know that most websites only use a fraction of the disk space and bandwidth they could use in theory. On the plus side, this means that costs are spread out over a large number of users, keeping prices low. On the down side, there is a risk that servers could crash if everybody starts using their "unlimited" allowance to full capacity. Again, you need to talk to the hosting company to find out what guarantees they offer against this type of risk.
Unlimited web hosting has many advantages. Just make sure to ask the right questions at the outset.
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