Hosting companies need to disclose “true” web hosting limits on so-called “unlimited” plans

Potentially billions of dollars of damage and loss have been caused to both individuals and businesses as a result of poor business practice of many web hosting providers selling “unlimited” web hosting plans that are not really unlimited at all.

Many (not all) web hosting providers have been utilizing a massive scam that has gone unchecked for more than a decade. They sell a plan called “unlimited”, but such a thing is impossible.

In reality, there are specific and set limits, but as long as you don’t reach the limits, then you’ll never know you paid for “unlimited” but didn’t actually get what you paid for.

Essentially, the business plan is based on a gamble that the company can get enough customers with the advertising of “unlimited everything” who will not use more than the real limits that are set by the hosting provider. In reality, what occurs is that only stagnant accounts that are not really used at all never reach these limits. These are the ones who the hosting company makes money off of.

The big problem with this, is that hosting companies have found that they can exploit this by setting the limits so low that anyone even reasonably trying to use their “unlimited” plan hits these limits. But what happens when customers hit these unreasonable “limits” is where the real problem comes in.

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What the host does to these “violators” (which are usually just normal customers using a normal amount of resources), is the biggest problem. Some hosts will immediately ban the “violator’s” account and delete all data. Some will refund them. Others won’t.

Other providers won’t really terminate accounts, but instead will “throttle” their users slowing down websites to a crawl, often even taking down the website for hours every day. Some providers will even throttle their users so badly that the website will be unusable for months. And if a customer tries to cancel, they get stonewalled by the hosting provider who often refuses to provide a refund due to some obscure addition to the “TOS” (Terms of Service).

This is what is occurring to me now at one of my client’s hosts, Hostwinds. But Hostwinds is not the only one to blame. Over the past 10 years I have dealt with many web hosts, including Hostgator, Bluehost, GoDaddy, and many others who advertise “Unlimited”. And to show the extent of the fraud, my client’s accounts on Hostwinds have almost zero traffic and are using almost zero resources.

This brings me to the next big problem – “overselling”. Overselling is what occurs when a hosting provider sells more accounts than there exists resources on a server. What results is that if anyone uses even a small amount of data, it takes down the whole server, affecting up to thousands of customers and websites. Usually one of two things happen as the host tried to “mitigate” “excessive resource consumption” by suspending and terminating accounts and mercilessly killing processes, or the host does nothing and just allows everyone’s website to go down.

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This isn’t a joke – ResellerClub is actually advertising overselling!

Please note that “excessive” resource consumption is completely relative. Web hosts have gotten so greedy selling 10,000+ accounts on a single server that can barely accommodate 5 real customers, that even a normal website (let’s call a normal website 10 pages and under 1000 page views per month) is called “excessive”.

Basically, instead of a web host buying new servers when they have new customers, they instead just put more and more customers on the same server. This is what is called “overselling”.

What the biggest problem here is, is that real users need to know how much resources they are “really” getting, because “unlimited” is, frankly, a lie.

Here are some of the limits not advertised on “unlimited” plans:

  • Limited Disk Space (many hosts will only give you a few gigabytes before your account is “red flagged” as “excessive”)
  • Limited Bandwidth (even a very small site a few pages and barely any visitors will experience significant downtime because of throttling and overselling)
  • Limited CPU processing power and RAM (another thing that takes down websites is when the CPU and/or RAM gets overloaded. This is caused when you put thousands of accounts on a server which can only handle a few – maybe 3 to 5 – clients. If you use anything at all on your site, you’re called a “resource hog” which is not fair because you paid for an “unlimited” plan)

It used to be pretty hopeless, until yesterday when the Federal Government set a precedent saying that “unlimited means unlimited and nothing else” and sued at&t for violating the ftc. for doing pretty much the same thing that hosting providers are doing!
READ: AT&T Sued By Feds For Throttling “Unlimited” Wireless Customers


So there is hope!

If you have:

  • Ever had an account suspended from web hosting for “overuse” or “abuse” when you were advertised an “unlimited” plan
  • Ever had an account deleted from web hosting for “overuse” or “abuse” when you were advertised an “unlimited” plan
  • Ever had an account banned from web hosting for “overuse” or “abuse” when you were advertised an “unlimited” plan
  • Ever lost business as a result of web hosting for “overuse” or “abuse” when you were advertised an “unlimited” plan
  • Ever had your website slowed to a crawl when you were on an “unlimited” plan
  • Ever had your website go down when you were on an “unlimited” plan
  • Ever had your website run slowly or go down and didn’t know about it
  • Ever bought an “unlimited” plan and didn’t know you were being swindled
  • If you did not know about “overselling”
  • If you did not know that “unlimited” web hosting plans do NOT mean “unlimited” because it is false advertising
  • If you have had any other similar negative experience with any web hosting provider regarding “unlimited” plans, account deletion, suspension, slow sites, or anything like this
then you have experienced this issue. Hopefully something changes soon!

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2 thoughts on “Hosting companies need to disclose “true” web hosting limits on so-called “unlimited” plans

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