The internet is filled with shared web hosting providers that offer "Unlimited" bandwidth and disk space for pennies a day. Our hosting packages at Azereon have caps on resources, and our packages may cost a little more than other providers on the web. So why should you pay "more" for "less"? The answer lies in understanding what you really need from a web hosting provider, and spending your money on what matters most.
How much is Unlimited?
Any web hosting provider will have pages that list their "Terms of Service", "Acceptable Use Policy", or their "Resource Usage Policy". If you were to read these over, you'd find some interesting pieces of information. Here are some examples:
- All users are restricted to 15 concurrent MySQL connections.
- Each database is restricted to 2 GB of disk space.
- Database queries should not exceed 3,000 per hour.
- Database changes (insert/update/delete) should not exceed 1,000 queries per hour.
- Number of open files should not exceed 64.
- The total number of inodes in an account may not exceed 75,000.
To take the 3,000 database queries per hour as an example, suppose you have a database driven website (think Wordpress, Drupal, or Joomla) you may have several database queries execute for each page load. Supposing each page only ran one query, it's very easy to have 3,000 page loads during your peak hour of the day, without even using more than 10GB worth of monthly bandwidth.
To use 75,000 inodes as another example, an inode represents a single file on the hard disk, this could be a file, an image, or an e-mail. Supposing each file was exactly 1MB, you could never have more than 75GB of data.
There are other limiting factors of course such as RAM, CPU, I/O access and more. Essentially, what is meant by "Unlimited" is that other factors will restrict the size of your account long before bandwidth or disk space become an issue. Comparing hosting accounts by bandwidth and disk space is kind of like picking out a car for your daily driver based on top speed. Buying a daily driver based on the fact that it can go 200mph doesn't make sense when you aren't ever going to take it over the 65mph speed limit. Instead, factors like reliability, safety, and gas mileage are more relevant deciding factors.
Ultimately, every web host has to play a balancing act. There are different resources, whether its bandwidth, disk space, CPU, RAM, or I/O, there is only so much on each server to go around, and all of the hosting clients on that server must share those resources. Some hosts may take advantage of the situation and advertise "Unlimited" numbers for certain resources that are underused, but everyone has a bottleneck in their system. Every hosting client with a growing website will get to a point where shared web hosting is no longer practical, because they reach that bottle neck, and it's time to move to a dedicated server.
Bandwidth and disk space are certainly important, just don't let the big numbers on hosting plans fool you. What is important is that the hosting package you purchase has enough for your needs. We do have caps on bandwidth and disk space at Epic Construct, but we use soft caps. This means we'll never charge you overage fees or turn off your site when you hit your cap. We don't mind if you go over from time to time. Do you have a big marketing campaign scheduled and expect your visits to peak for a while? Don't worry about the bandwidth, just let us know when the campaign is going to run. We'll even offer some suggestions and try to help make your campaign a success. If it seems that you'll be exceeding your caps on a regular basis, we'll work with you to get you in a reasonably priced hosting package that is right for your needs, even creating a custom package if necessary.
What really matters?
So what really matters when shopping for a web host? There's no single right answer to that question. If often depends on your individual needs. Are you going to run your business on the website you're hosting? If so, then uptime is an important factor, since you can lose sales and revenue when the site is down. Will you have questions? Often times, people who subscribe to shared hosting packages are new to website design, and often times they'll have questions. If you're only paying $3 a month for your hosting, you can rest assured that many of your questions will go unanswered. (But it's alright, at least you have "unlimited" bandwidth right?) Our support goes beyond just making sure that your e-mail is working right. We'll make our best efforts to answer any question you might have. (Of course there has to be enough of us to go around to everybody, so we do ask that you be considerate before starting a game of 20 questions.) Our company owner regularly reviews the support tickets. At any time, you can always ask that your ticket be assigned to Adam, and the company owner will answer your questions personally. At Azereon we feel that having someone on your side, who wants to learn about you and your site, and wants to help you succeed is worth a few extra dollars a month. We promise we'll do our best to make it worth every penny!
Our promise to you
At Azereon we realize that you're website is important to you, and you've hired us to make sure that the world can see it. We consider it a privilege that our clients have chosen us for that responsibility, and we take it very seriously. We don't waste our time devising new marketing ploys to generate large volumes of clients in an attempt to make a profit on overly cheap hosting. We believe in quality over quantity. We focus on our clients and their needs, and give them the personal attention they deserve. We think we charge a fair price for that kind of service, and we think if you try us out, you'll agree.