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Unlimited shared hosting returns

Thu, 7th February 2008, 21:17

Yahoo Small Business announced an unlimited shared hosting plan, with unlimited disk space, data transfer and email storage space, all for $11.95 a month. A free domain name is included. There is a $25 set up fee. The free domain name includes a non-refundable $7.00 charge to register the domain, for free. The offer is only available in three month terms, month-to-month and annual plans are not available.

If you are tired of the limits placed on you by your current webhost you may jump at the chance for a life free from limits! The "unlimited" plan looks good, except for the following, err, limits. To quote this page:

So what does "unlimited" mean, really?

Disk space:

You can now create as large a site as you like (you won't face an upper limit, or "ceiling"), but we will place some constraints on how fast you can grow. In other words, you can add as much content as you want, but maybe not all at once. The vast majority of our customers' sites grow at rates well within our rules, however, and will not be impacted by this constraint.

Data transfer:

In most cases, if you use our service appropriately, visitors to your web site will be able to download and view as much content from your site as they like. However, in certain circumstances, our server processing power, server memory, or anti-abuse controls could limit downloads from your site.

You can also upload as much as content as you like each month, subject only to the rules that control how fast your site can grow (see above).

Email storage:

Unlimited email storage gives normal email account users like yourself an opportunity to not have to worry about hitting a storage limit. You can save your correspondence and never worry about having to delete older messages to make room for more.

However, the purpose of unlimited storage isn't to provide an online storage warehouse. Usage that suggests this approach gets flagged by AT&T Yahoo! Business Email's anti-abuse controls.

As the readers of this site know, there truly is no such thing as “Unlimited Hosting”. It is too bad to see this lame marketing term making a comeback. Yahoo may offer a good service, but to start it off with disingenuous marketing-speak should make you wary. Some questions spring to mind immediately:

  • What are these “constraints” to how fast you can grow? What does this mean?
  • What are the “certain circumstances” that will limit downloads? I suspect getting to the front page of Digg or being Slashdotted, marking a return the the “Geocities” style hosting from years back.
  • What do they consider an “online storage warehouse”? There are no real numbers for any of these things, just vagaries.

I think Yahoo needs to do a better job explaining the real terms of their Unlimited Shared Hosting. It is hard to not view this announcement with a jaundiced eye. You don't see the term as much anymore. Hostmonster uses it, as does IX Web Hosting. The web hosting industry has been through this before. Honesty is the best policy. Using the term is almost saying you view your potential customers as fools. It is better to have a clear idea of what you are facing as far as charges. It would be a shame for your site to run into the limits of unlimited hosting right as you begin to reach success.

What do you think? Is this too harsh a stance to take? Have you had a good experience with an unlimited plan? Leave a comment!

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