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Thread: Unlimited bandwidth?

  1. #1
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    Unlimited bandwidth?

    The unlimited bandwidth in a world with limited resources.

    What's this bandwidth thing again?
    First of all, we have to establish one thing here. I'm not necessarily talking about bandwidth in the sense of speed of transmission or data transmission rate (bits/second), which is the correct definition for the term "bandwidth". I'm mainly talking about the so called bandwidth which measures the total amount of transmitted data (bits).

    This whole misuse of the term bandwidth started perhaps because most packages come with a specified amount of Gigabytes/month. Some might've considered it to be the same thing as bandwidth because the latter is measured in bits/second. But who knows? Anyway, most likely you already know what I'm talking about.

    Still, just to be clear and rigorous I must make a clear distinction between terms. Bandwidth means data transfer rate, which is a speed - the speed of transferring data. Hence unlimited bandwidth would mean, in other words, an infinite speed when transferring data. This does not exist. Speeds are limited in our world. For example we (or at least most of us) believe that the speed of light is the ultimate speed of anything in this universe. However, the speed of light is limited, not unlimited.

    Back to definitions, when most hosting companies refer to bandwidth in their shared/reseller hosting packages they actually mean "data transfer", not "data transfer rate". They state for example 5GB of bandwidth, meaning that you'll be allowed to transfer 5GB of data, usually within a period of time of one month. This is the data transfer that you are allowed to use (or consume), the amount of data that is transmitted, not the speed at which it is/can be transmitted.

    With that taken out of our way, I will say that this unlimited bandwidth issue is one of the most sensitive and maybe to some extent controversial issues in the web hosting industry. Certain web hosting companies actually offer unlimited bandwidth (in the sense of data transfer) in their hosting packages. The thing that really boggles the mind is that they offer it at a fixed price! Can you put a fixed price on something unlimited? In fact, the very idea of unlimited in a limited world is... well... rather impossible.


    Unlimited overselling?
    Selling unlimited something is overselling at the extreme, no matter what it is. There's no unlimited anything in this world as far as we know.

    Companies defend themselves saying that they don't do anything to stop a user from doing his best to "consume" unlimited amounts of data transfer. But then we'd be dealing with the so called unmetered bandwidth, which is a different thing.

    While unmetered bandwidth is relatively OK when you rent a server with let's say a 10mbit/sec connection (not shared with any other server), when you're talking with shared hosting or reseller hosting, unmetered bandwidth is not OK anymore.

    When you rent the server you can use that connection to the max, but when you're just a guy hosted on such a server, you have to "fight" for it with the other people on the server, meaning you'll never enjoy a full 10mbit connection.

    There is also such a thing as contented bandwidth, when you are sold a server with a 10mbit connection with unmetered bandwidth, but so are let's say 15 other people. The seller however doesn't have a 150mbit connection, he has a 100mbit connection and he's overselling. Tricky business this hosting business, isn't it?

    Anyway, I digress... The reality is that the more or less hidden policy of most of the companies that offer unlimited bandwidth is to either close accounts using more than a set amount of GB/month or use the resources abuse clause to suspend the user's account.

    So, although the offer states "unlimited bandwidth", the web hosting company knows, and anyone else should know from the start, that it will not be delivered. It cannot be delivered. Physically, the network has a limited speed of transmission, which in turn means that the hosting company cannot send more that xxxxGB/month.

    Unlimited bandwidth or data transfer do not exist and they cannot be delivered, even though they are offered. They are just hype, just marketing. Rather deceptive marketing if you ask me.


    True stories
    Often, what reads "unlimited" on the initial offer transforms into "limited" when you read the terms of service. You'll sometimes find a point where the web hosting company reserves the right to stop the transfer for your account (i.e. suspend your account) if the bandwidth (data transfer actually) consumption exceeds the "unlimited value" of... lets say 20GB in a single month. This whole thing is barely legal in my opinion. It is however so hard to prove that they were trying to deceive you...

    I remember reading about someone who signed-up for an account with unlimited bandwidth. Imagine his surprise when he received an e-mail one day, asking him to "upgrade" the account because he was (basically) reaching the limit of the "unlimited". It might make you laugh too, but it's sad really!

    While participating in hosting forums I've often had the -- let's call it pleasure -- of exchanging ideas with and question owners of hosting companies who were offering unlimited bandwidth. Obviously I was not alone there, other members were asking questions as well. Anyway, in one such occasion, after a few questions we've asked, it turned out that even though the host had no limit stated on their site (not even in the fine print), they were in fact using an "in house" monthly data transfer limit of 10GB. All this while bandwidth was advertised as "unlimited". The owner argued that the customers didn't complain and that they actually had a few customers who were paying for multiple "unlimited bandwidth" accounts.

    The funny things you get to hear in a lifetime!..


    Is there anything more to say?
    To make a long story short, the conclusion is that physically it's impossible to achieve unlimited bandwidth. "Extreme amounts of bandwidth" yes, but not "unlimited bandwidth". So anyone claiming to provide unlimited bandwidth is not telling the truth (yes, that means lying ).

    For me, unlimited bandwidth is a bad sign. A very bad sign. Sure, from a marketing point of view it might be a good sign -- the guys know how to attract innocent, sometimes ignorant clients. But from the educated client's point of view, it's definitely a no-no.

    I stay away from unlimited bandwidth. I can understand overselling and I condone overselling to some extent, but from overselling bandwidth (or any other resource) to such extreme as unlimited bandwidth, there's a long way. An infinitely long way in fact!

    Besides, I like to know what I'm getting exactly. When it comes to web space, bandwidth, price, and many other hosting features I expect numbers. The thing that cannot be expressed exactly is the level of support. For that, as you might know by now, I search for customer reviews.


    Unlimited other things...
    This article seems like a good place to bring into discussion the other unlimited features that come with hosting accounts. One such thing is the unlimited space. Just like bandwidth, web space is essentially and undisputedly - limited. Hard disks have limited capacities, and although those hosts who offer unlimited space might argue that hard disks can be added when necessary, fact is that even then, the space would be limited. Smart and responsible hosts don't advertise neither unlimited bandwidth (data transfer), neither unlimited space. At least I don't think a "tech" person could think of such a thing.

    Once bandwidth and space limits are clearly defined, unlimited anything else is (more or less) acceptable and, to a certain extent, even standard practice. Unlimited FTP accounts, email accounts, databases and so on are acceptable because they're not limited by the host (hence the unlimited claim), but mainly by the amount of space you have bought. Each such account requires space, so when you read "unlimited email accounts", translate it into "as many email accounts as you can create within your limited amount of space", just so you you don't lie to yourself -- or feel lied to.

    As a closure to this article, I wish you an unlimited number of unique visitors! OK, that was just a silly joke. I wish you unlimited happiness! That at least, we may all hope to achieve - we are granted the right by law.
    WHReviews.com

  2. #2
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    Better to avoid hosts which provides unlimited bandwidth,if the intention of your site is for business.

  3. #3
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    Unlimited hype

  4. #4
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    You can better choose a host which provides large bandwidth.Many cheaper hosts are also available with large bandwidth.

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    i'm quite sceptical about this unlimited bandwidth especially in the malaysia hosting market... unlimited would get most hosting company in trouble coz datacenter charge an fees for a certain limit of bandwith and connection speed...

    however, this might be true in overseas hosting... but in malaysia... nah... i haven't came across with one that uses local datacenter dare to offer unlimited bandwidth...

  6. #6
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    3000GB per month for me is unreachable for me, don't ever mention unlimited to me...
    Wayne Liew Dot Com

    Humble blogging tips and news from the Internet by a 17 years old.

  7. #7
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    Yes,it is better not to choose unlimited hosting and unlimited bandwidth too.

  8. #8
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    what about "premium dedicated bandwith"

    10Mbps is like 6TB full duplex maximum
    100Mbps is like 60TB full duplex maximum
    1Gbps is like 600TB full duplex maximum

    but of course not at the price of US$5/mo

  9. #9
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    good information
    things that comes with a cost doesn't goes to the customers for no cost.
    overselling in webhosting is norm nowdays but extreme overselling something that a consumer has to pay attention to.
    bandwidth has gone cheaper and cheaper especially with the foreign hosting.
    if one's could consume a whole lot of bandwidth, I'm sure he could afford a dedicated server with a unmetered line

  10. #10
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    Unlimited Space & Unlimited Bandwidth is mean “Unable to stay long”.

  11. #11
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    one way that it's fair to both the host and customer, is unlimited transfer but at a choked bandwith rate.

    like unlimited but at 20KB/s... let's see how far you can max it out.

  12. #12
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    nice information,thanks for sharing with us

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