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Web hosting companies lie
Adam Provis, April 28, 2011
This week we have been putting together ourpackages for our green hosting service. Without knowing for sure what different business’ hosting requirements were, we thought we would take a look at some other web hosts and see how they package their products.
One thing that jumped out is that so many of them offer ‘unlimited web space’ and ‘unlimited‘. Now I know that the first one, ‘unlimited web space’ is a lie. The universe is finite and nothing is infinite and unlimited. This argument may seem pedantic but we are talking about space on a disk drive which certainly isn’t unlimited- something that is all too clear when you find the restrictions buried deep inside a ‘reasonable use policy’.
Now let’s address ‘unlimited bandwidth’. The term ‘bandwidth’ is this context is the amount of data that can be sent by the website within a period of time (usually a month). Sending data across the Internet costs money and, because of this, hosting companies have traditionally limited the amount of traffic from a website before charging extra. The vast majority of websites do not get enough traffic to ever have to consider this limit but as video streaming becomes more popular this has become a factor to at least check.
On the face of it, absence of a bandwidth limit seems like a good thing until we look at how this is achieved. Instead of limiting the bandwidth allowance, the speed of the connection is limited. This essentially achieves the same thing just as you could never hope to travel as many miles in a day on a bicycle as you could in a car. The dangerous consequence of this is that delivery speed is an important factor for a website in terms of Google ranking and user satisfaction. Google have publicly said that faster delivery speeds help a website achieve higher positions in its search engine. Bounce rates are certainly reduced with a quicker site. For the purpose of some marketing spin your website could become stifled in popularity.
After studying our competitors we decided to largely ignore what they offered. We are offering one reasonably generous package that easily fits 99% of websites, data centres which run on electricity solely generated by wind power, modern fast servers that are not throttled back, clear upfront space and bandwidth limits and a high quality service. Our thinking is that we are never going to be the cheapest offering but we can strive to be the best.
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