Cheap domain hosting is everywhere nowadays. No matter which hosting company website you visit, you will be inundated with SPECIALS and FREE this and FREE that. You have money back guarantees and commitment periods and…
How can cheap domain hosting service be SO cheap, and how should you choose your new hosting company without getting robbed blind, or ending with a lot of problems? Remember, hosting companies are in it to make money, not to provide a community service. How can they make money if they charge you $3.50 per month to host UNLIMITED amount of domains with unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage? The answer is that they can’t. You have to read the small print!
Cheap domain hosting works on shared servers. What this means is that the hosting company hosts thousands of websites on one single physical server. Your $3.50 unlimited domain is one those. If one server hosts, say, 1000 sites at $3.50 each, that one server now earns $3500 per month for the hosting company. Now that is starting to sound like a business, especially when you have tens or hundreds of servers.
This is where the trouble for cheap domain hosting starts. The hosting company will be sorely tempted to host even more domains on the same server and make even more money. Cram 2000 sites on one server and you make $7500 instead of $3500 each month. I’m sure you are starting to see the picture.
Many cheap domain hosting services make a bold claim that they provide you several “unlimited” things:
- bandwidth – the amount of data that is transferred to and from the server
- domains – this means that you can host any number of websites without added cost
- storage – the amount of hard disk space available to you and your website.
What is the truth about cheap domain hosting?
Remember earlier when we talked about shared hosting… There are hundreds of other hosting accounts sharing the same server you now have your unlimited account on, each one of those, in turn, unlimited. What sort of computers do these companies have? They seem to have unlimited amount of hard disk space and memory in an infinitely fast computer!
This is how it works: Each cheap domain hosting plan has a Terms of Service agreement (TOS) you will have to agree to when you sign up for a hosting account. In that TOS there will be terms of usage that will impose the real limits on your unlimited account. Here is an example from one actual TOS (names have been removed to protect the guilty): “What ëUnlimited’ means. [name removed] does not set an arbitrary limit or cap on the amount of resources a single Subscriber can use. In good faith and subject to these Terms, [name removed] makes every commercially reasonable effort to provide its Subscribers with all the storage and bandwidth resources needed to power their web sites successfully, as long as the Subscriber’s use of the service complies with these Terms”. This wording appears almost identically on most unlimited hosts’ terms of service.
There you have it. In plain English, the cheap domain hosting company is saying that for as long as you do not consume too much of disk space, traffic or CPU resources, you can have as much as you want. They RESERVE THE RIGHT to decide when too much is too much. In other words, they might tomorrow decide that you have been getting too much of the unlimited, and therefore you are in breach of the agreement.
Cheap domain hosting has taken its revenge. Your site is likely to be suspended and all your files removed from the server. They would not have backup files available (since they would consume too many resources). You are now up a creek without a paddle. If you did not have a backup of your website on your own computer, it is now gone, and there is not a thing you can do about it.
All this horror said, cheap domain hosting is still the best option for a vast majority of websites. For my own websites, I happily continue to use cheap domain hosting. All you have to do is be aware of the potential dangers and do your homework before choosing your cheap domain host.