If you’ve ever purchased web hosting it’s likely you’ve encountered a company offering unlimited disk space for a couple dollars a month.
It’s something that’s often talked about throughout the web hosting industry, which most veterans frown upon.
So what’s the deal with it? Is unlimited really unlimited?
In short, there is always a limit, but let me explain why companies offer “unlimited” disk space in the first place.
Unlimited Disk Space Is A Marketing Ploy
It’s no secret the web hosting niche is filled with competition. Sometimes when I’m doing competitive research I get completely overwhelmed at the number of endless websites I come across.
Sometime in the mid 2000’s a lot of the larger brands, such as HostGator, started offering “unlimited” with very competitive prices.
In my opinion this was a pivotal move for their organization as it allowed them to shift from their primary Reseller-based clients to overtaking a big portion of the shared web hosting industry.
The average “Joe the plumber” wants as much web space for his website at the best cost.
Finding The Limit
Regardless what hosting package you go with, you should always do research and see what the exact account limits are. Some hosting companies try to hide this as far down in their TOS/AUP so you’ll never find it until it’s too late.
Most popular web hosting companies will place limits on Inodes vs. Disk Space as it makes more sense in terms of I/O usage on the hard drives. An inode is a data structure in a Unix-style file system that describes a filesystem object such as a file or a directory. Each inode stores the attributes and disk block location(s) of the object’s data.
An account may only use 2GB of disk, but 250,000 inodes, would be much more taxing on a server than an account with 2GB of disk space with 50,000 inodes (basically number of files).
Is It Ethical To Offer Unlimited Disk Space?
A lot of industry veterans will argue me until they’re blue in the face on this – but coming from my marketing background – absolutely it’s ethical!
I strongly believe that as long as you’re upfront with your customers about their specific limits [always read the fine print] – you should be able to market your service as you wish.
We allow all of our Resellers the ability to over-sale their packages. That’s how they stay competitive!
Why We Don’t Offer Unlimited Disk Space
Even though I understand the marketing aspect of it, I’m personally not targeting customers looking for the most disk space for the cheapest cost. Even though our Shared and Reseller hosting prices are competitive, I don’t consider Name Hero a discount web host.
We’re targeting individuals and business looking for high performing, fast, web hosting with unmatched customer service. We extend this through our Reseller packages, allowing other web hosting companies the ability to offer their customers the same high quality hosting options at a very affordable price.
With cloud-based storage being so inexpensive (i.e. Dropbox, Amazon S3) you’re better off anyways to use a service like this to store large amounts of media as solid state drives (what we use at NameHero) are much better for your dynamic PHP, HTML, and other files.
Too Big For Shared Hosting
Finally, there eventually may come a time where your website or blog is simply “too big” for a Shared Hosting plan. Regardless how much disk space you use, you may simply get too much traffic and need the power of your own server.
We host many very popular websites on our VPS Hosting packages – that wouldn’t work on our Shared or Reseller. They not only need a lot disk space, they need dedicated RAM and processor to power their applications that drive their content.
In the end, what works for one person may not work for the next. If you have questions on what hosting package is right for your business, feel free to reach out, I’d love to provide my input!
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.