Why shouldn’t I go for that unlimited plan? Beware overselling.

If you’ve been searching for a web hosting provider, you have probably seen some offers that look very enticing — at least on the surface.

While 500 gigabytes of space for WordPress hosting and 2000 gigabytes of bandwidth for $3.95 a month or unlimited space and bandwidth for $6.95 a month may seem reasonable to some people, you should know that when register domain name nearly all plans like that are marketing ploys meant to entice customers into buying them.

With website design the reason providers can offer such exorbitant limits is due to overselling. The companies know that most customers aren’t going to use very much space and bandwidth for cloud hosting. For those that do, the company is either large enough to afford it, or it isn’t.

You should be on the lookout for those in the latter category. If the VMware hosting company can’t afford for you to use all the space and bandwidth you’re given, you can count on them having some hidden terms that prevent it.

You may find some  sort of clause in their Terms of Service agreement that states that you may only use a certain percentage of your space or bandwidth, or something like that. They won’t allow you to get WordPress anywhere near the advertised limits before your account is suspended for “abusing” the limits given to you.

You may also notice poor service from hosting providers that are extreme oversellers. Websites and downloads will run very slowly, and you may experience frequent downtime even in the Equinix Sydney Data Center.

The industry hasn’t always been like this. Only in the past five or six years has overselling become an issue.

Over the years, the biggest hosting providers have been in constant competition with each other. That has driven the average space and bandwidth limits up exponentially, and made it harder for honest companies to compete.

It is true that hard drive and internet transit prices have gone down significantly, but at nowhere near the rate hosting offerings have gone up.

So, the most important thing to remember is that you should always carefully read the Terms of Service before signing up for any hosting account. Sign up with a reputable company that offers reasonable limits and you’ll be much better off than with a disreputable one offering high limits.

What happens if I exceed my space or bandwidth quotas?

That varies from hosting provider to hosting provider.

Some will suspend your account if you go over your disk space limit or monthly quota, while others will let you off with a warning.

You should be aware, though, that some companies will charge you expensive overage fees for exceeding their limits. When that happens, you may have a nasty surprise waiting for you when you open next month’s bill.

When in doubt, you should always carefully read over the Terms of Service agreement, as well as any other legal agreements offered to you at signup.

If you see that you are about to go over your space or bandwidth limits, you should immediately contact your hosting provider and ask about upgrading to a plan with higher limits.

Am I allowed to resell my hosting space?

In general, most hosting providers will not allow shared hosting accounts to resell space. You should check with yours, though; ask support or read through the Terms of Service and other legal agreements.

Reselling is when you give out space to other people for money. If you were to start your own little hosting company on a shared hosting account, that would be defined as reselling.

Most hosting companies would prefer that you upgrade to a designated reseller plan if you’d like to offer other people space. This does give a better experience for your customers, as they too will have their own hosting control panel; you will have essentially given them their very own shared hosting account.

If you want to resell hosting space, you should definitely consider upgrading to a Reseller account.

This is a screenshot of a hosting provider’s Acceptable Use Policy. Notice term #11. Particularly this part. “You may not make your account (including but not limited to web space, email accounts, bandwidth, storage space, or reseller rights) available to any third party in any way, including but not limited to the use of Sub Domains, Add-on Domains, Sub Directories, or by any other means.”

You should look out for similar clauses in your hosting provider’s terms.

What’s the difference between shared, dedicated, and other types of hosting?

Intro to Web Hosting series

What’s the difference between shared, dedicated, and other types of hosting?

Shared hosting is probably what you’re most interested in, especially if you’re just  out in web hosting. With shared hosting, you’ll be on a server with potentially hundreds of other accounts. This is the cheapest form of hosting, for the hosting provider and for you.

If your account frequently uses up a lot of server resources, your hosting provider will probably ask you to upgrade to something more suited to your website’s needs.

One option is another type of “shared” hosting called Reseller hosting. This basically allows you to sell shared hosting accounts to other people. Sometimes a reseller server will be less crowded and better suited to websites with high resource usage.

Another option is a dedicated server. This is the most expensive form of web hosting, and will cost you at the very least $40 a month, but probably closer to $100. Since you probably won’t know how to manage the server yourself, it would probably cost closer to $200 per month total for an entry level managed server.

A Managed dedicated server leaves the hardest parts of operating a server to experienced technicians, letting you focus on the website side of things.

On a slightly smaller scale is the Virtual Dedicated Server, also known as Virtual Private Server, and commonly shortened to VDS and VPS, respectively.

What hosting companies do is divide a very powerful dedicated server up into separate “virtual” servers using virtualization software. Each virtual server gets its own operating system, and acts almost exactly like a real dedicated server.

Depending on the hosting provider and the plan you choose, VDSes may not be anywhere near as powerful as a real dedicated server.

It takes just as much work to manage a VDS as it does an actual dedicated server, though, so really the only benefit is decreased cost. A VDS can typically be purchased anywhere from $10 a month up to the price of a small dedicated server.

So, you’ve heard about four of the most common types of web hosting. There are a few others, including cloud hosting, clustered hosting, and grid hosting, but we won’t go into those here.

What is a control panel?

Intro to Web Hosting series

What is a control panel?

The control panel is an essential part of any web hosting account. You wouldn’t be able to do very much without some sort of control panel — even just a basic one.

Among the most widely used web hosting control panels are cPanel (shown here), Parallels Plesk, and DirectAdmin. Some control panels only run on Linux, some are meant for Windows, and some will work with both types of operating system.

One important note: Just because your computer at home is running Windows doesn’t mean you need to find a Windows hosting account. You only need a Windows account if your website requires features that only work on Windows. Otherwise, a Linux account will work just as well, and with very few differences.

Most versions of Linux are free, whereas you can’t install Windows on a computer unless you pay for a license. Because of this, Windows hosting accounts generally cost a bit more.

Here is another control panel, Parallels Plesk

This is the end of the tutorial. You should now have a better understanding of what a control panel is