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What is unlimited web hosting?
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You may have heard of the term ‘unlimited web hosting’ and wondered what that means. Unlimited web hosting is another name hosting services give to shared hosting to lure customers who aren’t educated enough on the subject. These hosting plans have features like unlimited bandwidth, websites, disk storage and domains. In reality, they are, in fact, infinite. Although the bandwidth is unmetered, this does not necessarily mean that it is truly unlimited. There is always a set limit for all of these. Since the companies using these services have low storage needs, the data of multiple companies are shared in a single server to reduce cost and maintenance, thus making them affordable to the end-user.

How is unlimited limited?

Every hosting service says its hosting is limitless to get you hooked on buzzwords like ‘unlimited’. The space is limited with node calculation. Web hosting services give you a specific node limit, like certain companies, which give around 200,000 – 300,000. Let’s assume you install web hosting software on your website. And the software has 10,000 files. Then the software you installed will consume 10,000 nodes. Each of these nodes represents a single file saved on the server. Another limitation on the server is the number of processes. The bandwidth may be unlimited, but they limit the number of processes on the server. So you can’t go beyond their limit of processes even though the server can handle a lot of visitors.

So what are processes, and why does it matter?

A process in a server is simply an initiation by the server when anyone visits a website. The process continues to remain active until the visitors are no longer on any page of the website. A single process can handle a limited number of visitors, let’s say, 150 visitors per process. If there is more traffic than usual on a website, then many processes will be running at high levels. In this case, the server wouldn’t shut down a process and initiate a new one in time to accommodate new traffic. Hence, resulting in a server shutdown.

How do hosting services limit users?

The catch in unlimited hosting by every web hosting service is that they limit the resources. Some of which are –
  1. Limiting the CPU usage: If the company limits the CPU, then the server’s processes are drastically reduced.
  2. Putting an iNode limit: An iNode limit simply means that the host limits the number of nodes a server can handle.
  3. Putting an IO limit: An IO limit is a limit set on the disks’ reading and writing ability.
  4. Storage usage limit: Web hosts set up different policies so that users can’t use ‘unlimited storage’, like setting up a policy that doesn’t allow users to store files that are unnecessary for the server.

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