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

Email:

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. Using IMAP means 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.

Experiments:

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.

Websites:

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!

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Part of being interactive is making it possible for people to contact you and to submit specific information to you. A simple contact form is fine for many websites.

Contact Form 7 is a great free plugin for this usage.

However some websites would like to have the option to create complex forms. Forms that will transfer the data that is submitted into specific fields, so that a csv document can be created and the information used elsewhere.

They want forms that look great. They don’t want spam submissions. They want to be able to import data and export data easily.

They also want all their forms in one place. Not separate systems for contact forms, autoresponder forms, or poll, invoice, job postings, quote requests or any other forms.

To run any kind of complex site with WordPress that requires people to add address details or other content then take a look at WordPress Form Management.

How Do I Add Forms To WordPress?

Wordpress Form Management

I use and recommend WordPress Form Management

Click here to visit WordPress Form Management.
If you know how to use WordPress, you’ll discover that using the WordPress Form Management plugin is a cakewalk. WordPress Form Management looks and functions like the rest of the WordPress dashboard.

You create your forms using a visual editor. Add the fields you want, choose their options, and then drag them to where you want them to appear.

Custom fields can be email, website, multiple choice, drop down lists, hidden fields and you can easily populate drop downs, checkboxes and radio button fields with predefined lists of values such as Countries, States, Months, etc.

You can add your own options. The address fields have set options and you can choose American or International address types, set their default states, provinces or country and toggle each of the fields visibility.

You can easily add a new form to both pages or posts and WordPress Form Plugin has a handy widget format too.

Shield your form sumissions from spam by filing bots with a Captcha. Before the form is submitted, set up different email recipients, so if one form is a service request it’s submission can be sent to a customer service email, while a sale form gets sent to the sales department email.

WordPress Form Management can pass form data to a confirmation page, for use with external autoresponders. The plugin can send automated emails for each form submission.

Creating complex forms takes a little time so you’ll want to backup what you create and export it to a safe place. If you have several sites, and use similar forms on each, you can export the form you created and import it directly into the new site for editing and use.You can export all form fields, or only those fields that are needed, to a CSV file.

Form data can be set to display on a template page on your site, when the submission is approved. Content can include both images and articles, a great way to have members create their own profile pages, or to add new articles. Embedding is via a shortcode to be added to your post or page content.

As the WordPress Form plugin is constantly improving, you’ll already find a few addons for it, and expect more to follow. It’s already compatible with Justin Tadlock’s Members plugin for role management. It will integrate easily with the FreshBooks invoicing service as well.

So if this sounds the kind of professional function you can use on your website, go get the WordPress Form Management plugins. It makes other plugins look like amateur hour!

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