Every time I see a reputable site recommend a “bad hosting provider” to their visitors, I want to tear my hair out and write a dozen angry letters. The sad part is that most sites recommend these few hosting providers, that real people should actually stay away from. And the more a “brand” is recommended, the more “credible” it becomes. Marketing experts know this and count on it.
A quick and easy way to spot bad hosting providers – look for the word Unlimited. If you spot it somewhere in the marketing copy or the pricing plans, run with your money somewhere else.
It’s that simple.
Why is unlimited bad ?
So you want to know more. I will gladly elaborate.
Nothing about hosting is unlimited. All servers quietly humming in datacenters have physical limits.
- The internet cables attached to servers have a limited amount of data they can transfer per second.
- Datacenters have limited amount of physical space where they can store servers.
- Each server has limited amount of data it can process, and limited amount of data it can store.
Unless you’ve found a company that’s “giving back” to the community by providing hosting-charity – there is nothing unlimited about “unlimited hosting”. The top hosting providers in the world are certainly not running a charity.
Bad business is good money
Hosting provider business is dominated by Affiliate marketing. The most popular hosting providers are far from “the best” providers. Instead – they’re the most bearable with huge affiliate commissions.
If I convince you to sign-up to this hosting provider, I’ll receive 50$, but you’ll likely pay around 85$ for the first year. That means that for the first year the company will only make around 35$. From that 35$ they have to pay staff ( support and IT ), buy a Ferrari, pay the internet bill, pay the electricity bill, buy advertising, pay taxes, – the list goes on. Tell me – what fraction of all that list do you think goes into your quality unlimited hosting ? Here is a hint:
Some cheap hosting providers are more transparent than others, but they’re all running the same game – if your site is visited too much or you’ve used too much disk-space, you’ll be contacted by your hosting provider telling you that, well, you’re using too much of that unlimited thing.
After paying affiliates and the company costs, in order to make even more money, they’re squeezing every last drop out of the servers. To do that they mush your site together with thousands of other sites on the same server. It’s called shared hosting – the server resources available to you are silently extremely limited ( RAM, processing power ), and at the same time hosting companies will boast their “Unlimited disk space” or “Unlimited bandwidth“, so that you would feel like you’re getting it cheap.
So hosting with Affiliate marketing = Bad Hosting?
Not at all. We all need to survive, we all need a business plan to make our business work. The more users a hosting provider can attract, the more stable business they can run. But you do have to pay attention – if an offer/pricing plan sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
Think about it – would you be able to share 50% of your profits with someone referring clients to you, while offering the clients “Unlimited Hours, Unlimited Photos, Unlimited Locations” for a photo-shoot ? I don’t think so. You couldn’t even do it without profit sharing, which is exactly my point – Affiliate marketing isn’t a sign of a bad hosting provider, but a hosting provider with unlimited plans and affiliate marketing – that’s the absolutely worst kind.
What to look for instead ?
Look for the opposite. Look for bandwidth limit and disk-space limit. If a hosting provider has limited amount of bandwidth and a limited disk space – they’re being honest upfront about what you’re getting.
Unlimited Websites – is another “unlimited” keyword, but if you’re seeing it along Limited storage and bandwidth – it’s not as bad as in the other instances. This just means that you can create unlimited websites until you reach your storage or bandwidth limit, at which point you’ll have to upgrade. This is a bit different than the “infinite everything” promise.
Follow the money
When reading reviews, just look for the incentives. Will that particular site benefit directly if you sign up through their affiliate link? Usually sites with no apparent business plan are the ones that will try to squeeze the most money of the traffic.
For example, imagine a simple blog about Photography. You stumble upon an article “5 best hosting companies”, all with affiliate links, all with “unlimited plans”. It’s very likely that the blog is just trying to earn some money from the traffic.
On the other hand – have a look at us here. We’re selling WordPress Themes. The goal of our blog is to provide solid, opinionated information that you can then share with others. That will hopefully earn our themes more exposure.
We believe that by providing good content, good things will come, even if we don’t make “top buck” from the best paying affiliate. At the time of writing this article – we don’t recommend any provider at all. In my mind – no affiliate links = good content .
Photo Credit: Dell’s Official Flickr Page