GoDaddy Web Hosting “Unlimited” Plans, Disk Space & Traffic Limits – Not really “Unlimited” anything

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GoDaddy now advertises 100GB disk space and “Unlimited” bandwidth in its lowest web hosting plan called Economy, and both “Unlimited” disk space and “Unlimited” bandwidth in its higher web hosting plans, Deluxe and Ultimate, respectively.  You might be thinking you are getting a great deal, but they are using the terms “Unlimited” (and we would say “Ultimate” too!) very loosely here.  In fact, if you read the fine print in their Web Hosting Agreement, you will find that GoDaddy not only limits your usage of that disk space in all plans, including the “Unlimited” plans as they explicitly state, but they also limit the amount of TRAFFIC you can have to your website.  Those free Google AdWords Credit coupons or Facebook Ad Credit won’t do you much good even if they successfully bring traffic to your website if your website visitors get a blank or error page instead of accessing your website.

Direct from the GoDaddy Web Hosting Agreement:

Storage and Plan LimitsAll Web Hosting and WordPress Hosting plans, including the unlimited plans, are subject to a limit of no more than 250,000 inodes per account for Linux® hosting accounts or 500,000 files and folders per account for Windows® hosting accounts. The plans are also limited to no more than 1,000 tables per database and no more than one gigabyte of storage per database. Any account or database that exceeds these limits may be issued a network violation warning and will be required to reduce the number of inodes, files and folders, tables or gigabytes (as the case may be), or may be temporarily or permanently suspended, in Go Daddy’s sole discretion.  All Linux hosting plans are subject to the following limitations: no more than a) 25% of one CPU core; b) 512MB of RAM; c) 100 website connections; d) 100 active processes; e) 1 MB/s disk IO.  In the event these limitations are exceeded, your site may slow down or not be served until more resources are added.  More resources may be added for additional fees.

So the “Unlimited” plans are clearly not “Unlimited” in the disk space, bandwidth, or resources that your website and account can use.

Let’s start with the inodes.  Wondering what “inodes” are?  How do you know how many inodes your website will need?  In simple terms, it is the the number of files on your server/web hosting account.  Every file (a webpage, image file, email, etc) on your account uses up 1 inode.  While it is true that 250,000 inodes (a.k.a files) does sound like a lot – and is a lot for a small website – , it’s not unlimited.   But moreover, the issue is the rest of the fine print.

Your website account is more vulnerable to being suspended or slowed down because of the other limitations GoDaddy sets on the web hosting plans, most likely before your account even comes close to the 250k file limit.  There’s the 1gb of database space limit – as your website grows, especially if it’s a social networking website, or you have a forum, or even if you just have a lot of pages on an informational website that runs on a database driven dynamic software, this can be a big issue for you if you don’t plan ahead because you think you got the so-called “unlimited” plan – or even if you think you can use the 100gb disk space for your database too.

Then there are the limitations to your traffic and how much content your website can serve – clearly not true “unlimited” bandwidth.  Quick definition on bandwidth: it is commonly known as data transfer, i.e. the amount of data that is sent from your website to your visitor’s computer, and vice versa.  As highlighted in yellow in the Terms quoted, you get a limit of 100 website connections, 100 active processes, and  1 MB/s disk IO – that latter part means 1mb per second input and output.  Sounds a lot like a bandwidth limit…Not sure if we would call advertising “unlimited bandwidth” with these limitations in the fine print good PR… Doing some more digging in the GoDaddy web hosting limitations documentation, we came across this FAQ, “How many visitors can view my site at once?” And the answer…drumroll please…

Direct from the GoDaddy website:

All of our shared hosting accounts have a limit to the number of concurrent — or simultaneous — connections it can have.

Your concurrent connection limit is determined by the type of hosting account you have.

NOTE: Any alias websites that use database connections will count against your limit.

Linux Accounts

  Shared Web
Economy 50 At least 150
Deluxe 100 At least 300
Premium, Unlimited, 
or Ultimate
200 At least 600

Windows Accounts

  Shared Web
Economy 50 At least 150
Deluxe 100 At least 300
Premium, Unlimited, 
or Ultimate
150 At least 450

Database Connections

Database connections are on a per-user basis.





They have no problems using the word “limit” here without the “un”.

The GoDaddy Web Hosting Agreement also includes a section on their “Unlimited Disk Space/Bandwidth Plans”, addressing their use of the word “Unlimited” and how they define it:

Unlimited Disk Space/Bandwidth PlansWeb Hosting and WordPress Hosting plans are designed to host most personal, small business and organization websites, and thus we offer unlimited bandwidth and some plans offer unlimited disk space. This means that we do not set a limit on the amount of bandwidth or disk space you may use in the operation of your website, provided it complies with this Agreement. In the event the bandwidth or disk space usage of your website presents a risk to the stability, performance or uptime of our servers, data storage, networking or other infrastructure, you may be required to upgrade to a VPS or Dedicated Server, or we may take action to restrict the resources your website is utilizing.

Namely, that “unlimited” to GoDaddy means that they have no set limit for the overall scope of disk space and/or bandwidth, but your web hosting account is subject to limitations to your usage of disk space and bandwidth in specifics.   Semantics, semantics, lots of semantics.  GoDaddy advertising “Unlimited disk space” and “Unlimited bandwidth” on their homepage is much like companies designing food packaging with catchy big letters on the front of the box to cinch the sale.  Deceptive marketing touts a food as “Natural” – and then you read the fine print in the ingredients list and find a whole list of unnatural (no quotes needed there) ingredients.  You were expecting the “natural” lemonade to contain lemons, water, and sugar – and that’s it.  The keyword here perhaps is the omission of the word “100%” of “totally”. (ABC News covered this story last night: “Natural’ vs ‘Organic’: How Food Labels Deceive“)

Ok, back to topic.  You should also review the pricing and features you get included in each GoDaddy web hosting package.  You may have to pay extra for add-ons such as  traffic statistics or to have email (both included free with all UltimateWB web hosting packages).

You may find that GoDaddy web hosting works for you, as they say their plans are “designed to host most personal, small business and organization websites” – maybe you don’t expect your website to be that big or attract that much traffic.  If you have a GoDaddy web hosting experience, please post in the comments below!  Last time we checked, you can use UltimateWB software on GoDaddy web hosting plans.

Related: What “Unlimited” Really Means in Web Hosting
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