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.

How many email accounts do I need?

Intro to Web Hosting series

How many email accounts do I need?

That’s really up to you; it depends on how many people you think will be  email on your hosting account.

Most hosting providers allow you to create plenty of email accounts on pretty much any hosting plan. Keep in mind, though, that the mail you send and receive will be counted as part of your disk space quota.

With your hosting account, email can be accessed via webmail or by using a mail client such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook (shown in the background).

What are email forwarders?

Intro to Web Hosting series

What are email forwarders?

Email forwarders allow you to forward a copy of all mail from one address to another. For example, you could set up a forwarder to forward all mail received on info@mysite.com to admin@mysite.com.

info@mysite.com will still keep the original version of all messages it receives, and admin@mysite.com gets forwarded a copy.

It’s worth noting that this relationship doesn’t work in two directions. Mail received by admin will not go to info.

Another type of forwarding is a domain forwarder. This will forward all mail received on a specific domain to another domain. If we forwarded mysite.com to demosite.com, admin@mysite.com and info@mysite.com would be forwarded to admin@demosite.com and info@demosite.com, respectively.

The last kind of forwarder we’ll mention is a “catch-all” or default email address. With this kind of forwarder, mail sent to an email address that doesn’t exist will be forwarded to the email address you specify.