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Me and my friends have seen a few of web hosts (ipower, bluehost, etc) which offer unlimited bandwidth + unlimited space + unlimited domains. What's the catch with these hosting plans? I mean, multiple people can buy one account and share the unlimited perks?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The catches are limited CPU or compute time, and an actual limit to the actual bandwidth allocation and space allocation. Once you're using N% of the shared hosting on a machine of theirs they're going to explain that while unlimited you've run out of space or bandwidth on a shared server, and need to upgrade to a private, or virtual private server. Also you'll often find that the database load and or count is limited. And personally, I find that's all fine for an individual, and less so for a company or group of people.

There's also dreamhost they allow me to make multiple user accounts and put different domains or subdomains onto different users' accounts, and so they basically support what you're supposing you might do. Not sure how much longer they'll be offering unlimited accounts, but it's been about a year now that I've seen.

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I've hosted some (mainly experimental) small sites at Dreamhost for some years. I've always found it very slow when accessed from Europe. However, when I tried to install the Concrete5 CMS, creating the database would take really long, and would often fail (due to some time out, or at that time I even thought it might be some bug in Concrete5). Only when I moved that site to another host, where the installation was a matter of seconds, I realised not only the connection to Europe was slow, but also the database performance at Dreamhost was very low. –  Arjan Oct 18 '09 at 8:30
    
Yes, hosts are generally limited to one location. Pick one you like and that fits your audience's location. I find lots of hosts in Europe to be pitifully slow, with Australia rating the worst I've seen. And sure, shared databased generally always suck, try to rely on them as little as possible. Dreamhost does offer a kind of CDN support through Amazon S3. –  dlamblin Oct 18 '09 at 19:47

I have a blog at LunarPages. They say that everything is unlimited but I got some warning for high CPU usage and they requested me to install a cache plugin.

Also the space is unlimited but you cannot keep backup copies on the server :)

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"Unlimited" is an outright fabrication. Once you get past a certain point, most hosts will simply start throttling your traffic, and in some cases charge you for overuse(!).

If all of your friends are using it for, say, low profile development sites, then sharing should be fine, but keep in mind unlimited is anything but.

(Did you ever wonder why big blogs often talk about saving bandwidth? Why would they do that if it were unlimited? Because it's not - the better packages have a bandwidth limit, just a very high one)

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Occasionally these hosts will shut you down without warning, too, if you exceed some invisible threshold. There was a high-profile case of this with the Maccast website and Godaddy a few years ago. Shared hosting was exceeded, and Godaddy just killed the site without even warning the owner.

Don't rely on the kindness of these companies; they have hundreds (if not thousands) of other users, and have no problem shutting you down if you're a drain on their resources. They will let go of your $5/month if you're costing them $5.50.

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