The Unlimited or Unmetered Bandwidth Myth is one that nearly every major shared hosting company employs to entice you to use their hosting service. I’ve had my “unlimited bandwidth” revoked on a few different sites by both HostMonster, and LunarPages. I’m sure some of you have had similar issues with other hosting companies.
So why is it a Myth?
Well it is and it isn’t. Bandwidth with these companies is unlimited assuming you don’t use to much. When you start requiring GB of data daily they start looking at your account, and trying to find other things wrong with your account. Most usually that other thing is CPU usage. The message you receive is usually something like this.
“Your user account was recently audited and found to be using more than the allowed percentage of cpu usage. In order to provide reliable service to our customers we have temporarily suspended your account until you resolve the issue. You may want to consider upgrading to one of our premium packages”
They then send you a list of all running processes. Near extortion, heaven forbid you are on a vacation and don’t get the message for a week. By that time your website is deindexed, and your users are gone.
Bandwidth cost them money. Most host (including hostmonster) rent servers from other organizations. They pay bandwidth. If you use to much then they are loosing money on you as a customer. If they loose enough they threten to termenate your account unless you upgrade to a vps or dedicated server. I don’t think hostgator offers vps, i know lunarpages does.
So these larger packages cost anywhere from $50 a month to $1000 a month depending on what exactly you need.
So they suck you in with the low rate packages and if your site does well they press you to upgrade.
It’s a business model that seems to work. It’s being done across the web. I’m not complaining, I’m just trying to shed some light on the myth.
Hope this helps someone, we’d love to hear your input.
Photo from Bibi Saint-Pol Creative Commons