In our last blog post we helped you answer and understand the question, “is my web hosting account really unlimited?” Today we are going to help you answer and understand the question “is my web host overselling”? Before we can answer that question, we must first understand what overselling actually means. By definition, overselling refers to a business practice where a company sells a volatile good or service in excess of actual capacity. Airlines and Hotels tend to do this (referred to as overbooking), so they can insure 100% of the available seats/rooms will be used (therefore maximizing their profits).
In web hosting, its quite the opposite. Companies overselling in web hosting are hoping 100% of the available resources are NOT going to be used (maximizing their profits by hosting more customers on the same server). Since many customers compare companies by the disk space/bandwidth being offered. Companies will often times use this knowledge to their advantage by inflating the disk space/bandwidth being advertised (giving you a false sense of security). Meanwhile, the company hopes you will only use a fraction of the disk space/bandwidth being offered and if you do start to use more of the allotted disk space/bandwidth (your account will be suspended for using too much of the systems CPU/Ram).
So how do you know if your web host is overselling? Unlike “unlimited” web hosting, determining whether or not your web host is overselling can be a bit tricky (but not impossible). As a general rule (and of course there are exceptions to every rule). If your web site is using more than 20-25Gb of disk space and more than 200-300GB of bandwidth, your site probably doesn’t belong in a shared hosting environment. Keeping that information in mind, if your web host is claiming to give you more than 20-25Gb of disk space and 200-300Gb of bandwidth (for less than $15.00 per month), your web host is probably overselling.
Now comes the real question, is overselling bad? Not necessarily, however just like “unlimited” web hosting, its important to understand overselling is just a marketing gimmick (your not actually getting what is advertised). So instead of going from web host to web host, looking for the most disk space/bandwidth for your buck. Take a look at your actual web hosting needs. Find out how much disk space/bandwidth you actually need. What type of site software you are using (if any), how many unique visitors you are receiving per day and go from there. Knowing what does and does not belong in a shared web hosting environment is half the battle.
Owner of Forward Web