Is unlimited bandwidth really unlimited as commonly advertised? We know it’s so tempting to fall into the trap of signing up for an unlimited bandwidth web hosting plan, particularly if you’re thinking your site is going to be consuming tons of bandwidth. When you see the term unlimited bandwidth, you get excited and sign up and come to find that the web hosting provider has other terms that actually limit the amount of bandwidth you are allowed to burn (which actually answers the question with a simple; NO). One of the reasons a person may choose to go with an unlimited bandwidth web hosting plan is that with it also comes the fact that they don’t have to worry about overages or having to pay for additional bandwidth each month.
What Does Unlimited Bandwidth Mean Then?
In the majority of cases when it comes to unlimited web hosting, the host has it metered in some way and limitations in place so that if a website consumes so much it will slow down or become unresponsive because there is nothing ‘unlimited’ in the world of web hosting.
In other cases, the web hosting provider will require that you transfer to another plan or purchase enhancements. Of course, these are often in the terms and conditions at sign-up but aren’t published anywhere else on the site.
Some of the most common restrictions you’ll find are related to the types and sizes of the files you’re allowed to host. For instance, you might find that you cannot host videos or that if you do you cannot host videos over ‘X’ megabytes and the same goes for images and audio as well.
Since these three types of files are commonly larger than most, hosts can put into place restrictions on how they are viewed or if they’re even viewable at all.
Another thing that you might find, again deep in the TOS at signup, is that a part of their unlimited bandwidth web hosting plan is that you agree to consume less than a certain amount in any given time period. As such, the TOS will also explain that once that limit is reached your account will be suspended until you upgrade or the next cycle begins.
Finally, many hosts that offer unlimited bandwidth will ‘oversell’ their services. This means that they stuff their server and bandwidth pipe with so many websites and so much traffic that the users typically experience very slow response times and find it difficult to grow their websites.
As with most things, the adage that you pay for what you get also comes true here. Sure, there is some unlimited bandwidth web hosting plans that are on the up and up however, the only way to get true unlimited bandwidth with no restrictions is to pay for it.