The Truth behind the Unlimited Bandwidth offers

By : Arundhati   Date : 04 Dec 2009
When you plan to build a website of your own and look for a perfect web hosting company for it, the first two considerations that come to your mind are disk space and bandwidth. When you are unable to decide as to how much of bandwidth would be necessary for your site, and you come across a hosting offer of unlimited bandwidth, then it is quite obvious to feel tempted – nothing to worry about your web traffic, no tensions about the amount of data transfer!! But have you been through the ‘terms and conditions’ of the service provider written in fine prints?

Bandwidth is the data transmission rate, the maximum amount of information (bits/seconds) that can be transmitted along a channel. When you browse a web page, what happens is actually downloading of files which could be video, audio, image or HTML. This downloading (and uploading) of data requires a particular amount of bandwidth each time. So, each time a visitor logs in, a certain amount of bandwidth is used. For example, if your site is of 50KB in size, then each time a visitor opens that page 50KB of data is transferred to the computer and if the number of visitors rises to 100 then the amount of bandwidth used also rises to 5000KB.

The size and the popularity of your site decide the amount bandwidth needed by your site. The higher the size of the site the more of bandwidth needed each time one visits. And the more popular your website is, the more will be the number of visitors. Worth noticing is that images and videos require the more bandwidth then simple texts.

Most of the web hosting companies offers a limited bandwidth with each hosting package. But some of them claim to offer unlimited bandwidth. But have you ever come across a hard disk with unlimited disk space? Or a broadband company offering unlimited megabytes per second? If these are not possible how could a hosting company offer unlimited bandwidth?

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Then how could they offer “unlimited bandwidth”? What they mean by unlimited bandwidth is that they “do not measure the amount of bandwidth used”. Now you may think that unmetered bandwidth is also very profitable as you don’t have to keep a track of the bandwidth used as your host is not bothered! But there lies another truth behind.

The hosting companies that provide unlimited bandwidth actually depend upon their number of clients. A very little amount of bandwidth is needed by some sites, and these hosting companies target these website. Their offer is based on their belief that the websites will not make use of the entire bandwidth provided.

Now the server machine on which you are hosted require a lot of expense-the computer, internet, electricity, technical support, etc. So to make profit out of it they host hundreds to thousands of websites on the same server. And you are hosted along with thousands of other websites, on the same server. Now with your website becoming mare popular and with the increasing number of visitors, which may be the case with other websites also, the server starts slowing down, as the server CPU power, the internet, disk, etc are not unlimited.

So when the server starts becoming slower, they pick up websites making more use of their “unlimited bandwidth” and either makes them pay for it or else discard their account on some other basis. And the worst part is you are not supposed to get your money back. Why? Because you violated their terms and conditions. How? Read between the fine prints and you will find somewhere “we reserve the right to cancel the account if it overuses the server resources”.

But some of the true unlimited bandwidth providers make their bandwidth truly unlimited by restricting some files. Most of them restrict the audio and video files, and some even going to the extent of blocking images even. And as such what your site contains is only texts which require the least amount of bandwidth.

Summarizing some of the basic ways as to how you get gulled by these hosting providers with unlimited bandwidth:
  • Finely printed terms of service! - And in these TOS is buried their true “unlimited bandwidth”, which could be even as less as 300MB.
  • Restriction of files – These hosts may restrict files which require a larger bandwidth like audios, videos and even images sometimes.
  • Fraudulent business – Don’t be surprised if your host, offering unlimited bandwidth, runs away with all your money! Yes, most of the scammers use this as a “tag”.
  • Qualify first – These hosts are atleast not scammers! You have to qualify first to be with them. For example, you cannot qualify for their unlimited web hosting feature if your site uses, suppose, more than 3GB bandwidth! And if you use more than 3GB, either they will charge you or else cancel your account.
So the term “unlimited bandwidth” is basically a myth. Nothing is unlimited.

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