Bluehost “Unlimited” Web Hosting Plans Have Worst Inode Limits

Funny how the word “limit” always follows the word “unlimited” when unlimited web hosting plans are involved…eventually in the terms of use or question/answer sections. Inode refers to the number of files you can have on your account – that is the number of files counting everything – every file, every page, every image, every email.  The limit Bluehost has set is 50,000, as stated on their help topics page:

shared hosting accounts

We only allow 50,000 inodes per cPanel account, because that is where we see optimal server performance. We do understand that not all of our customers can reduce their file count that far; for this reason this is a “Soft limit” meaning that while the limit is reached, you will still be able to upload files. Once the account exceeds 200,000 files then it will be in violation of our Terms of Service and can result in possible suspension.

Bluehost does outline the inode limit in its Terms Of Service agreement, but without mention on the 50,000 inode limit:

Unlimited Hosting Space; excessive MySQL files. Bluehost does not set arbitrary limits on the amount of disk space a Subscriber can use for the Subscriber’s website, nor does Bluehost charge additional fees based on an increased amount of storage used, provided the Subscriber’s use of storage complies with these Terms. Please note, however, that the Bluehost service is designed to host websites. Bluehost does NOT provide unlimited space for online storage, backups, or archiving of electronic files, documents, log files, etc., and any such prohibited use of the Services will result in the termination of Subscriber’s account, with or without notice. Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse affect on server performance. Similarly, accounts with an excessive number of MySQL/PostgreSQL tables (i.e., in excess of 1000 database tables) or of database size (i.e., in excess of 3GB total MySQL/PostgreSQL usage or 2GB MySQL/PostgreSQL usage in a single database) negatively affect the performance of the server. Bluehost may request that the number of files/inodes, database tables, or total database usage be reduced to ensure proper performance or may terminate the Subscriber’s account, with or without notice.

So Bluehost does not arbitrarily set a disk space limit on a whole – just limits the number of files your website account can have, the number of database tables you can have, and how much disk space each of your database can take up.  That’s all.  Comparing to GoDaddy’s  and HostGator’s unlimited web hosting plans who offer 250,000 inode limit each, Bluehost’s 50,000-200,000 limit is considerably less.  But, while Bluehost and GoDaddy both only allow a maximum of 1,000 database tables, GoDaddy only allows a maximum size of 1gb storage per database vs Bluehost’s 2gb in a single database and 3gb maximum for the total database storage space.  Which one is better here depends on how many databases you have…but they both are totally limited, like the other unlimited plans, we can all agree on that, right?! They also all reserve the right to cancel your account before you reach any of these limits – probably when you are using too much of the “unlimited” bandwidth.

On the topic of unlimited bandwidth, Bluehost actually declares in its web hosting agreement that while they don’t set an arbitrary limit on bandwidth (i.e. so they can advertise unlimited web hosting plans), they reserve the right to do so as they deem necessary:

Unlimited File Transfer. Bluehost does not set arbitrary limits on the amount of visitor traffic a web site can receive or on the amount of content a Subscriber can upload to his/her/its website in a given month, nor does Bluehost charge additional fees based on increased use of bandwidth, as long as the Subscriber’s use of the Services complies with these Terms. In most cases, a Subscriber’s web site will be able to support as much traffic as the Subscriber can legitimately acquire. However, Bluehost reserves the right to limit processor time, bandwidth, processes, or memory in cases where it is necessary to prevent negatively impacting other Subscribers.

There is no such thing as “Unlimited Web Hosting”.  They advertise it, but it doesn’t exist.  It’s impossible to be in business by offering a lot of disk space, bandwidth, and server resources without charging for it.  You get what you pay for.

bait-and-switch

Is this bait-and-switch marketing?  So many web hosting companies currently advertise unlimited this and unlimited that when NOTHING is really unlimited.  In doing so, they successfully attract potential customers, but risk that these new customers will walk away unhappy because the product/service does not match their initial perception.  Who wants to fall on their back with that kind of surprise?!   While it may not be the web hosting company’s responsibility to manage perception, it does certainly seem to be in the best interest of their company and brand to not falsely inflate customer expectations.

Is “unlimited” web hosting for you?  You decide.  With UltimateWB software you can choose any compatible web hosting, which includes most.  Some website owners like to know exactly what they are paying for, and moreover like to have the option of how they use it.  Budget doesn’t have to be an issue – affordable web hosting plans that don’t tout the “unlimited” label do exist.  UltimateWB web hosting packages start at only a few dollars a month.

Related:
HostGator Founder and CEO admitted “Unlimited” plans are just a marketing ploy – and they REALLY are

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

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