If you’ve been with us for any length of time, you know that we have never advertised or sold so-called unlimited plans. They simply don’t exist. What you think you are getting in the marketing hype is taken away from you in the fine print. We now have customers coming to us from the sellers of these plans saying “hey, we respect your honesty and integrity and want to do business with you”. Well here’s an interesting development in the mobile market. “Regulators Crack Down on Marketers of ‘Unlimited’ Data Plans”. $40,000,000 fine for a US mobile company who used the same marketing approach. Read the story here. They sold unlimited plans but at some point every month they throttled the heavy users.
Similar technology exists for web hosts. Yes we can allocate resources to each account and by resources I mean processor usage, RAM usage, and data transfer (bandwidth) usage. All on the same server, we can allocate differing amounts of those resources to each account, should we choose to, and we don’t. You get what we promise you’ll get.
Let’s be realistic. Do you have a hard drive that has infinite resources? No, of course not. Could you build an array of hard drives that have infinite resources? No again, and not cost effectively if you are using commercial grade storage solutions.
We had a fellow come to us this past week from a supplier that sold him an unlimited plan. We had a look at his cPanel to see what resources he was using and guess what? You got it. Storage was limited to 1000 mb (1 gig). During peak sales season he was having difficulty with email and his site was shut down because of excessive bandwidth usage. The supplier, when confronted, told him he had to get his mail off the server, that was the issue. So much for unlimited. Even stranger, when we transferred his supposed 650 mb site it wound up to be 15 mb on our server. How does that happen?
Unlimited bandwidth? No such thing. Just as a water pipe of a certain size will only carry so many cubic meters of water per minute, a data pipe works the same way. It maxes out. The more you try to shove through it, the slower it gets. Go ahead, build a bigger pipe. Now tell me again how that’s unlimited? If you throttle the usage after a certain threshold, it is not unlimited.
Unlimited data transfer is a different beast. The amount of data you pump through is directly dependent on the size of that bandwidth pipe, what everyone else using that pipe shoves through, and at what point your provider chooses to throttle that transfer. It’s the speed of the transfer that’s important. They may tell you we won’t charge for data transfer, but at what speed do they transfer it?
Another marketing ploy we have seen is the so-called free ‘static’ IP address. Why would you pay for a dedicated IP when you can get it for free? I deliberately mixed the terms there to show you how easy it is to be confused. Every commercial server runs on a static IP. It is not the same as a dedicated IP. Our definition is that a dedicated IP means it is dedicated to your exclusive use. Thousands can use the static IP. Only you can use a dedicated IP albeit you can also share it with others, but that is your choice.
The next time you want to compare plans check the fine print. Words like ‘mail storage is limited to’ or ‘governed by a fair share of server resources’ are a clue that you may not be getting what you think you are getting. What’s a ‘fair share’? You may also want to question the supplier on their definitions of some terms. If you see no limitations in the fine print, give yourself a shake and remember ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true’.
It won’t be long I suspect before the FCC comes knocking on the doors of many of those web hosts who use questionable marketing practices.