No Overselling!

How “overselling” works:

Imagine that a web host has a server with 500 gigabytes of total drive space and 2500 GBs of total available bandwidth (2.5 terabytes) per month. He’s offering plans that each include 20 GB of space and 500 GB of bandwidth. He’s got 30 customers already on the server, so that a total of 750 GB of space and 15TB bandwidth is already sold.

And he’s still selling accounts on that server! How is this possible?

Because the actual usage of space and bandwidth on a hosting account is often much lower than the resource cap. Most site owners use only a small fraction of their allotment. If the drives fill up, more can be added. Bandwidth can be purchased to cover a small overage. However, none of this takes into account the CPU of the server that has to serve all those sites and databases.

And you, the hosted user, are stuck on a server that is constantly running all out just to keep up because of the sheer number of accounts hosted alongside you.

Infinite Bandwidth” and “Infinite Disk Space” hosting is just a new way to say “We’re overselling!” A 10mbit server connection at full usage can only transfer about 3TB a month at best. Some servers have a 100mbit connection. That’s a significant amount of bandwidth, but it is certainly not infinite, and simply means that even more accounts are dumped onto the same server with you. Your site will be in constant competition for resources against a staggering amount of other accounts, bogging down the CPU and ultimately sucking all the life out of all your projects.

Overselling is why there are are so many web hosting companies out there and why so many seem to open up or shut down every day. Existing companies oversell to the point that the service tanks, the user gets fed up and finds an new host that is also overselling – a big plan at a crazy price is hard to pass up. As more and more clients jump ship, the old hosts pick up speed and the new ones get crushed under the load.

Now, overselling and “infinite” hosting plans are not universally bad – in fact, we offer unlimited Windows and cPanel shared hosting ourselves at a great price over at Surfacing.Name. For most users, this kind of shared hosting is perfectly acceptable. But some sites are resource intensive, using databases and PHP. WordPress sites are a common example – as sites become more popular, larger or add more features and plugins, it’s not necessarily the disk space or bandwidth that becomes strained, it’s the server’s RAM and processors. Many web hosts consider excessive use of these resources to be cause for cancelling your hosting account.

How works:

At, our hosting plans are not oversold. If we sell you a plan with 10 GB space or 100 GB bandwidth, it’s yours whether you use it or not. That means fewer other customers on your server and more available resources to keep your sites nimble. We call it dedicated shared hosting, or just dedicated hosting.

On average, about two customers a year choose to leave our service, and some of those have come back. Honest – and has been around since 1997. We are not the cheapest, we don’t offer the supermega-size plans (check out Surfacing.Name for that), but we will not leave your sites in the lurch, ever.

Real world CPU load numbers:

We’ve seen sites transferred away from servers with loads that AVERAGE as high as 15 on one processor. In layman’s terms that means the CPU is overloaded by 1500%. The server in this example was a single CPU with 2GB RAM and 4 single eighty to two hundred gigibyte PATA drives all filled nearly to capacity, with on-site backups said to be made monthly.

Here’s a real example of a server on which our clients are hosted: Dual Quad-Core CPUs (8 processors total), 32GB RAM, four 750GB server-grade SATA hard drives in RAID 10 for speed and data security. Offisite backups are made weekly and incremental backups are made daily.

Dividing 15 (the load of the oversold server) by 8 (the number of processors in our server) gives you a CPU load of 1.875, but that does not take into account the newer, faster CPU technology, the much larger, faster, RAID array of drives, or the fact that our server has exponentially more RAM – sixteen times as much. Actual CPU load would probably be far less than 1.

If your business is online, why would you host with anyone else?

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