Unlimited bandwidth hosting was developed because of the competition among different web hosting services, and it is of great benefit to customers. If you have unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth, then you never need to worry about your website growing too big or too popular for a cheap monthly hosting package – at least in theory.
But, are you sure that bandwidth hosting is truly unlimited? The answer, of course, is no. While web hosting providers have large banks of servers and a staggering amount of fiber optic cables to make sure Internet access is provided for the sites on their servers at all times, they are not perfect and they have certain limitations.
Even if Internet access is not location-bound, websites need an actual physical address. They are not floating around in space. This is, in few words, the main purpose of web hosting – to provide storage and to connect sites to the Internet through cables.
The company is limited in how much capacity it has. And since each host has thousands of customers, and some own multiple sites, it is easy to see how the customers have limits as well.
One of the things that jumps to the eye is that though resellers and VPS packages are more expensive, they also have limits. It seems crazy that you can be paying 5 to 10 times as much for a reseller or VPS deal that has limits, when you can get unlimited bandwidth hosting for so cheap.
The reason for this is that the limits on reseller and VPS hosting packages are real and specified. The limits of shared hosting packages can change depending on what other people using the same server are doing. If you have a VPS, the amount of space and bandwidth never change from the moment you sign up, regardless of what anyone else is doing. Your sites will never run slow because somebody else is using a lot of bandwidth.
On a shared unlimited bandwidth hosting package, one the other hand, your sites will be stored on a shared server with one IP address that is common to other customers. So, you are not allowed on all of the company servers. What’s worse, you don’t even have access to the entire server, since you are sharing the space with other customers. All of this is hidden in a ‘fair usage’ clause in the company’s terms of service.
Most of the unlimited bandwidth packages are sold assuming that most people only use a little bandwidth. Taking all of the customers together, each customer’s sites will have peaks and troughs that will even out against other customers’ needs. It’s a little like airlines double booking a few seats each time because they know that some people will not show up.
So, what happens if you need a large amount of bandwidth? Take the opportunity to read the fine print on your contract, but you may soon have to upgrade to a different package. This will happen if you are trying to store a lot of pictures, offering audio or video on your sites, or if your site becomes very popular and has a lot of visitors. As soon as your sites are taking up a lot of space or consuming enough bandwidth to make things difficult for other customers, you can expect to receive a polite email from your hosts making it clear that their unlimited bandwidth hosting is not available to customers who really need a lot!