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How to Choose The Best Shared Web Hosting? Unlimited Hosting but not really Unlimited!

How to Choose The Best Shared Web Hosting? is one of the first question when you start doing online business. There are a hundred of web hosting providers in over the world and you don't know who is really the best for you (because all of them said that they are the best!). If you are looking for a shared hosting company then you should read this article first.
Unlimited Hosting but not really Unlimited!

What is Unlimited Hosting?

Generally, the term “Unlimited Hosting” refers to web hosting offers that provide unlimited disk storage, data transfer, database, as well as add-on domain. In a way, unlimited hosting providers are actually offering the freedom to host as many websites as you can at an affordable price! (only about 3-5 $/month). Nearly every hosting provider out there offers an unlimited hosting plan. Sounds too good to be true, right?
But what is the truth?
Large hosting companies normally own incomprehensible hosting capacity (bandwidth pipes, computer servers, manpower… etc) that would never be exceeded by a single website; in the same time, most websites need only very little resources to run its daily operation. Seeing that most resources in their servers remain unused, the hosting companies (that offer unlimited hosting) therefore have the ability to just re-sell those unused hosting capacities (such practice is known as overselling). One commercial server may hold thousands of accounts but they said that all accounts are unlimited !!

So "Unlimited hosting" is just a marketing tactic used by hosting companies to win customers.
How to Choose The Best Shared Web Hosting?

Why Unlimited Hosting is not really Unlimited?

The quality of a web hosting is determined by many features, while "unlimited hosting" company only provides one or some features that is unlimited and these features are not really important and/ or we do not need much.
As an experienced webmaster, you may know that the quality of a web hosting depends on:
+ CPU speed
+ Network speed
+ RAM capacity & speed
+ Storage (capacity and speed)
+ Software (control panel, database server, 1-click to install...)
I have never found any hosting company that provide "unlimited" CPU, or "unlimited" network speed, or even "unlimited" RAM capacity/ speed. Most "unlimited" hosting company only provides below "unlimited" features:
- Unlimited Disk Space (but never provides "unlimited disk speed", you may know, 50GB SSD is much better than 100GB SATA disk)
- Unlimited Bandwidth (but never be "unlimited network speed", you know, they are supplying water through a tiny pipe then saying that they do not measure the amount of water- mean provides "unlimited water". LOL.)
- Unlimited Domains (but sometimes not "unlimited database". Normally, each website includes one domain name and one database. What do they mean when they allowed unlimited domains with limited database?)

Understand "Unlimited web hosting"

Unlimited hosting users are restricted by various limitations and house rules. It could be CPU queries, RAM, inodes, number of MySQL databases, number of MySQL database connections, or even FTP uploads – as soon as your websites hit the red zone; the hosting company will pull the plug or impose additional charges on you. That is how “unlimited hosting” work.
Understand "Unlimited web hosting"

The majority of hosts’ TOSs say pretty much the same things. Most of them clearly state what “unlimited” means and does NOT mean, and it does not mean literally unlimited. It means there’s no imposed cap until your site’s activity puts a strain on the server, which means you’re hogging the resources you’re sharing with every other publisher who has a site on that server.

The Problem with Unlimited Hosting (hidden limits)

The biggest problem with Unlimited Hosting is that you may lose your websites (lose access to your website). If your host discovers you’ve been taking advantage of your “unlimited” plan (for example: exceed max CPU usage), they can disable your site, and deny you access to your hosting account, effectively locking you out and making it impossible for you to access your site’s files (if you haven’t backed them up elsewhere, which you really should do anyway)
If you’re lucky, the host will be gracious enough to allow you some time to collect your files before they delete them altogether, but they don’t have to. You violated the TOS, the host doesn’t have to give you any consideration at all.

Benefits and disadvantages of Shared hosting

Benefits of Unlimited Hosting:

+ Very affordable, start from $3.95/month (with 50% discount coupon then it is only 1.95$/month)
+ Enough disk space for the average user
+ Enough bandwidth for the average website
+ No set disk space limits
+ Best choice for small sites with small budget!
Downside of Unlimited Hosting:
- Shared server with no dedicated resources: The host server is shared for thousands of websites (included bad sites and good sites)
- Not truly unlimited: They usually limit CPU resource or Database connection
- Not as secure as having your own server (VPS hosting or dedicated server): If one website on the "shared server" is attacked, all other websites will be affected.
Downside of Unlimited Hosting:

How to Choose The Best Shared Web Hosting?

Sharing a server with others means you have to play fair. Trying to run a site that really needs a huge hunk of bandwidth on a shared hosting plan that only costs some dollars a month is not a smart business decision. As soon as you decide to invest in online business, I always recommend a VPS hosting or dedicated server (VPS hosting start from $5/month from Vultr, Ramnode, Linode, or DigitalOcean)
If you are not ready for VPS hosting then here are some suggestions to choose the best shared hosting:
1. Read the reviews/ comparison of hosting providers and take note about their support services.
2. Read the TOS of the company carefully. It usually shows "limited" features. For example, Hostgator, if you use exceed 25% CPU in more than 90 seconds, your account will be temporarily locked.
3. Prefer to reasonable packages that meets your requirements and from a company with good reputation, such as Stablehost, Godaddy, Hostgator...
See example features of a package from Stablehost:
  • CPU: 1 Full Core
  • Memory: 1GB
  • IO: 3Mbit
  • Max PHP Processes: 15
  • Total Processes: 30
  • MySQL Connections: 15
  • Suitable for ~215,000 monthly visitors
Everything seems to be clear, right?!
If you need any help, feel free to leave a comment.

Cheers.

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