Regarding Web Hosting – What Does “Unlimited” Really Mean?
The one thing you can be certain of is that Unlimited! does not really mean unlimited! So long as you stay within reasonable boundaries, most people will not have cause to complain. However if you addon a few domain names and use content management systems like Picture Gallery Software, Forum Software, Joomla and WordPress, it’s not hard to reach the limit.
The small print to look for here is a limit on the number of files or inodes. This can vary from 20,000 to 50,000 and you may still quite often go over this limit with only a tiny warning message in your Cpanel area to tell you that the boundary line is close.
But there is a limit and eventually, maybe at 250,000 files, or maybe less, you’ll get an email from your host saying you have reached your limit and you must delete files within 10 days to bring you back to under 50,000 files, or be taken offline.
When this happens, 10 days is not long to get things back under control. If the websites you have created are quality sites and are valuable to you, the best option to take here is to sign up with a VPS or dedicated server and do a complete backup and transfer to the new host.
If this was your first web host and you are willing to sacrifice some sites or just have a lot of junk that you can easily remove, then it’s clean up time.
Gig Host Space versus File Numbers
Lets assume that the limit is 30 gig or 50,000 files which is quite common. The limit is not usually baldly stated but merely indicated in the terms of agreement document as reasonable use on a shared server. With a VPS or dedicated server the limit is usually by gig not file number, and there is a big difference here.
WordPress software is approx 8 MB but it’s file count is approx 800 not counting extra plugins and themes. If your host account measures by gig you can have 6 times as many WordPress installations compared to a host that measures by file count.
Joomla installations are around 6,000 files
Forums installations are around 8,000 files
Picture galleries can be huge due to the creation of different size graphics for thumbnails and small medium and large options. One large picture gallery to a host account, I’d say and you may still over reach the limit.
Techniques for keeping within the limits
Every email that is received and stored on the server counts as a file. Using POP3 means that your emails download into your client and are deleted from the server. Usingmeans they are stored. If you want the convenience of IMAP, to login to webmail from any computer or share with other workers, make sure you delete unwanted emails regularly and purge them from the server. Check the default or catch all email address. This often fills with spam and is never checked if you use a client. Go in and check it monthly and delete the spam or set it up to delete automatically if you can. Another option is to start a gmail address and forward your email there for archiving, checking the option to delete after the forward.
Stats and Logs:
Check your stats and logs monthly. The history files for statistics are stored in a directory in the server root. If you don’t need 5 years of history, go in and delete it via ftp. When you have found the stat program you prefer, disable the other stat programs if they are enabled and delete their history. If you never look at stats, turn them off all together.
We all learn by experimenting. When we are looking for a new theme or addon or plugin, we often upload several and try them out. Then we leave them on the server and forget about them. This slows down your programs and clogs up your space. Go in via ftp or through Cpanel every few months and explore your folders. Delete any themes, plugins, addons, graphics, pages and other uploads that are dead wood you don’t need.
CDN – Content Delivery Network:
A Content delivery network will be a bit advanced for most people but it is well worth learning about, to speed up your websites and keep your files in check. The basic explanation is you use another site to host files and “call” them with your website.
A web host is not a storage system and there are many sites that will stream videos and audios much faster and more efficiently than a shared host. So do a search on Google CDN and read up on it, this might help you if you have a lot of picture files or other large file size media. This will also help if you are using too much bandwidth.
The only way to be absolutely sure what unlimited means by the way, is to read the web host’s Terms of Agreement Policy document and if you are still not sure and certain what it means, to ask the company in an email or support ticket. When you know what the limit, find out where your disk usage file is and see how much you have used.
Anytime is a good time to check your websites performance. Are your websites achieving what you want them to achieve and will they ever? Our starting websites may have sentimental value but are they really worth keeping online? Back them up and download the backup and delete them if they are not worth keeping. You still own them and can look at them in your own browser but you aren’t paying hosting fees something that may only get 20 hits a week!
Get your Feng Shui book out for inspiration and clear all the clutter off your server.
Get mean, lean and clean. It feels good!
- 10 Things to Pay Attention on Shared Hosts (famousbloggers.net)
- 11 Ways to Speed Up WordPress (mashable.com)
- How To Make Your Blog Load Faster By Offloading Server Resources (johnchow.com)
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