A lot of companies are offering unlimited hosting plans, usually include unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains and unlimited MySQL databases.
Unlimited is great! Why should I avoid them? You may ask.
Well… There is no such thing as unlimited storage. Unlimited is just a way of saying “don’t worry with the storage” or do you think they would really be putting up servers filled with hard drives over and over as your number of websites grown only to fit your needs? Of course not! That is even less possible since most of this “unlimited” hosting services are very affordable.
On some companies, there is a limit that most users don’t understand, the inode limit, it is a way of actually limiting your storage.
Also, there is no such thing as unlimited bandwidth. Do you have an unlimited bandwidth internet connection? Did you read your ISP contract top to bottom? There is a “fair use” policy, they reserve the right to terminate the contract if they find you to be “abusive”. How they determine if you are an abusive user or not? They do as they wish (normally, they compare you to other users), they also use something called “traffic shaping” that among other things, they can “slow down” your connection on purpose in order to free bandwidth to another users. This also happens with unlimited bandwidth hosting, if they see you using too much traffic, you get either your account blocked or your contract terminated (without getting your money back) and in both of the cases, your precious websites will be down!
Unlimited MySQL databases
This one is tricky, if the database storage is shared with your storage, and your storage is “unlimited” then you will run into problems later, either by using too much space (as state before, on unlimited storage) or by using too much databases, tables, rows or some other reason. If on the other hand the database storage is shared with your storage, but your storage has a specific limit, you don’t need to worry too much, just keep an eye on how much storage you are using. If the database storage isn’t shared with your storage plan, then Huston, he have a problem, because if it is not using your storage, it is using storage elsewhere, and it sure isn’t unlimited even if they state so! Also, if they don’t state nothing about the number of concurrentconcurrent/active MySQL connections you can have, avoid them like hell!
About the Unlimited domains, this is no biggie, of course there is no such thing like unlimited domains, since they take up space and slow down the server, but only by a tiny little bit, so tinny that it is neglectable. Since domains are not free, you would have to spend an enormous fortune to create an impact on the server. So this “unlimited” is something more likely over 100, like 1,000 or even 10,000 domains. This is actually something that you don’t need to worry about.
If companies offer “unlimited everything”, they only want your money, and the cheaper they are, the worst they will be. On the other hand, companies that state how much storage and bandwidth they offer on a service, they are being honest and offering you a professional service. For some users who get confused if this limits are enough for their sites, some companies even state on average the number of visits your site or sites can take per day, but this is something that you need to get used to, measuring your bandwidth is something you should take in mind and optimize your website accordingly.
Note: If you are looking for companies that offer this kind of non-unlimited service, here is my favorite one: MDDHosting (this guys are great, they use LiteSpeed servers that are up to 9 times faster!).