We covered the marketing tactic that is Unlimited Web Hosting many years ago when this particular "initiative" began to spread across the industry.
It has no effect on what we do because we're not web hosts in the strictest sense of the term. We're web developers that provide private dedicated hosting facilities to our web design clients as a component within our Managed Service Plans.
The reason we're covering this again is that we wanted clients who've come onboard with us more recently to be aware that sometimes not everything is what it seems to be in this industry. Because what companies claim, and how you interpret that claim, may be two different things. Basically, Web Hosting is a commodity - and like everything, it has it's limits. Many hosting companies offer "unlimited" plans, but be advised there are physical limitations to both disk space, bandwidth, and all other aspects of your hosting service. Before you buy an "unlimited" plan, you need to know what you're getting into.
Firstly, there is no such thing as an unlimited hard drive, everything is determined by the capacity of the drive itself. Furthermore, the network lines that carry data around the web (optic fiber, cable etc) have a finite capacity because there is a limit to the amount of data that can be transferred at any given point in time. So you will never have unlimited diskspace and bandwidth.....because it simply doesn't exist.
And unfortunately, there's a sting in the tail! Because hidden in the provider's terms of service will be very strict limits on CPU, RAM, MySQL, Number of Processes, Concurrent Connections, Disk IO, and Inodes.....and should you try to achieve this mythical "unlimited", you're going to hit those limits very quickly. Particularly if you have a site with a listing application for properties, vehicles etc that uses any type of XML feed import or export system.
In case there's any doubt on this, here's an extract from a major UK Unlimited Webhost's terms and conditions.......buried deep in their site. It's certainly nowhere near their sales pitch that's for sure!
"What is excluded from Unlimited:
In order to ensure that no one single website can adversely affect the other Registered Users, WebHost’s servers use systems to restrict the amount of CPU, Concurrent connections, IO, Number of processes, Memory, MySQL CPU & IO.
If a Registered User is identified as being close to these limits on a consistent basis, WebHost will advise alternative and more appropriate hosting services such as a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a Dedicated Server.
In extreme instances WebHost reserves the right to suspend or cancel the service at their discretion".
The text above shows you what triggers the "upsell". Don't want to pay more? Then you'll be shown the door. They can get you on multiple elements of the service.........and the majority of users won't even understand what those items relate to.
Let me clarify that this is not illegal in any way. They claimed that you can use all the diskspace you want.......and presumably you can! Just as long as you don't trigger any of the other limits in the plan. Though they weren't very forthcoming with that info at point of sale were they? But those limitations were there in the Terms and Conditions when you initially ordered the Hosting account.......so if you didn't read the T&C's carefully then that's down to you.
If you check our Terms and Conditions you'll see they contain nothing like that whatsoever. We offer managed service plans which include hosting services, and they provide resources that actually exist. Of course there are limits applied to the resources a single individual client can use - as you can't have one user grabbing all server resources and disadvantaging others.
But I can guarantee (because I know the restrictions these unlimited guys apply) that our allocation of CPU, RAM, MySQL, Number of Processes, Concurrent Connections, Disk IO, and Inodes considerably exceed what they allow on their "unlimited" plans. In fact we have clients who would exceed the limits of an unlimited webhost due to Inode use with just one e-mail account.
Unlimited web hosting plans are simply a marketing ploy to get your business. And of course the providers don't support your website......only the server and network.
If your website gets hacked or just doesn't work, then you'll need to find somebody who can fix it. To ask for help with that would not be classed as a "Valid Enquiry" to your webhost. And that is also specified in their Terms and Conditions......which you probably never read. Site support is clearly specified in ours of course, as with us you have a Managed Service Plan, not a basic web hosting account.
We believe in ethical business practices, rather than deliberately misleading unknowing clients (who don't understand the technical aspects) just to get their money. Not all hosting providers are the same. Not all web designers are the same. There are levels!
And we are the very rare crossover between both those roles - what we do with both those aspects is always at the very highest level. And always 100% transparent!
Please note that our enterprise level hosting resources are only available for our web design clients as a component within our Managed Service Plans.
Over the years I've continually stressed the importance of web security to our clients. To the point that some of you think that I'm paranoid.
But in this instance it's a case where the perceived paranoia should be interpreted as actually being in possession of the full facts. And of course, I have the relevant data to support those facts.
Remember that you don't see what I see on a daily basis. You're disconnected from it because I handle the process completely - so you don't need to think about it. But just because none of our clients have ever been hacked doesn't mean people aren't trying. They are! And it's my job to stop them!
But what am I up against? This image below is a screenshot of the security firewall in one of our client's sites. Those statistics represent the hacking attempts made on that particular site within specific timeframes. And every one of those hacking attempts was blocked and the IP blacklisted.
So let's be absolutely clear that these threats are very real, and they need to be taken seriously. I take them very seriously indeed.........do you?
Because throughout recent years the security threats to web sites and personal information have increased in sophistication, magnitude, intensity, volume, and velocity. In fact, 87 percent of IT security specialists worldwide believe that we're now in the middle of a global Cyber War!
This elite level of expertise, which was previously directed mainly at governmental and international corporate entities, is now spreading across into the mainstream of security threats that we have to face every minute of every day. The script kiddies and amateur hackers of yesteryear have now been been usurped by a much more sophisticated and knowledgeable network of potential intruders. And they're packing a lot more firepower in their arsenal.
Faced with this additional level of threat we had two choices: Stick with the current system that has served us well for so many years and hope for the best. Or raise the bar to reflect the change in the status quo. As you would expect from us, we've raised the bar. A lot! So in addition to our normal (and very extensive) security processes, we've now deployed an industry-leading commercial security system.
Obviously I can't go into any detail on this openly, but it does introduce advanced intrusion prevention and Bruteforce protection to mitigate against the new threat levels that we face.
From now on, all the individual security elements which were previously working independently are contained within a controlled and integrated server security environment and the processes interact together should the threat change or evolve. Plus, it brings a lot of additional elements of protection to our servers, one of which is it has the ability to automatically send any infected files to a cloud based analysis engine. The file is then automatically cleaned and sent back down to the server when the threat has been removed.
Obviously we hope we never have to use this aspect as our mission is to stop any threats before they reach that point. But it's still good to have processes in reserve......just in case.
So we have now created an environment where detection, protection, and reporting of security threats happen simultaneously and collaboratively. The system protects your web applications and personal data effectively against malwares, botnets and hacker attacks at all times. And after speaking to the developers, it appears that we are the first provider in Spain to implement this system.
But we can only go so far, because you have a responsibility as well. Do not run outdated software and deprecated PHP versions on your accounts......you're just asking for trouble. And if you are running vulnerable software then all the security systems in the world are not going to help you because the application will just let the attacker in without triggering security. Essentially you've given them the key to the door.
We've always notified clients of this situation before their sites reach this stage. And if they choose not to update their software then that's their choice. However, we are then unable to provide hosting services for them any longer - as they're a risk to themselves and everybody else. We would of course find them an alternative host. Be assured that there's plenty of "Web Hosts" out there who don't care what their clients put on their web space......as long as the money comes in.
It comes down to this: Would you prefer your data to be within a secure gated compound......or a crack house? It's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned!
Every new client that comes onboard with WebSpain gets their first year of fully managed web services free of charge. They are then able to evaluate whether they want to stay as a longterm client, or perhaps take their site elsewhere.
But besides the allocation of server resources that you receive, there's the permanent ongoing attention that comes with it!
What we provide with our Managed Services Plans:
Site security updates applied on day of release.
Site errors rectified subject to site software being current.
Enterprise strength site security firewall.
Malware removal on sites using Cloud based Auto Clean for infected files.
Uptime monitor checking connectivity to your site every 5 minutes 24/7/365.
Proactive monitoring of site and server security notifications related to your account.
E-Mail delivery monitoring.
Ongoing DNSBL IP Reputation Checks.
Ongoing Domain Reputation checks powered by Google Safebrowsing.
Daily account backups to a remote server on the network using R1 Soft technology.
Twice a day database backups.
PHP version upgrades subject to site software being current.
Immediate site and mailbox restoration.
GDPR compliancy implementation.
SSL / Dedicated IP address implementation.
Cloud Linux optimised servers.
Industry-leading commercial server security system.
Sites protected within CageFS individual containers.
KernelCare seamless operating system security updates with no server reboot required.
cPHulk Brute Force Detection.
Shell Fork Bomb Protection.
Optimised ModSecurity rules.
High CPU, RAM, and disk inode allocations to each site.
SSD Hard Disks.
Rapid response to clients with personal support 365 days a year.
Please do not confuse our services as listed above with basic web hosting accounts that are sold by web hosting providers.
We do not sell basic web hosting services, we deliver Fully Managed Service Plans for our web design clients. No web host will manage, update, and rectify faults on your website, all they support is the server and the network.
What we don't provide with our Managed Services Plans:
Web Design services using any application other than the Joomla content management system.
Web Design services on any third party server.
Website or Hosting Support of any site that is located on a third party server.
Website or Hosting Support to anybody who is not a current client of WebSpain.
Website or Hosting Support for websites using end of line software and/or running on withdrawn PHP versions.
Website or Hosting Support for a client's additional services that have been contracted tthrough a third party provider.
Bulk E-Mail sending facilities.
Promotional and Marketing Services.
E-Mail Marketing Campaigns.
Bulk data input services.
Social Media Promotions.
PPC (Pay per Click).
Bespoke Programming and Coding.
As an example, the managed package detailed above for a client using 20GB diskspace in a UK datacenter would be approximately €395 a year. But of course there are alternatives to our services! Who knows......the grass may be greener elsewhere? So I've listed a few options, all of whom deliver professional services that I anticipate would be on a par with ours.
Web Hosting €280 a year (Clook) plus a Site Firewall €175 (Sucuri). Total €455.....but this does not contain site management, only hosting and security facilities.
Site Management €850 a year (Joomlashack). This contains site management, but no hosting facilities. So add the two options together to match the full WebSpain package and it would cost you €1305 a year.
Site Management and Hosting combined from €1050 up to €3200 a year (JoomDev). This is the closest match to what we provide, but there is no indication on their site of diskspace allocation or the number of sites covered. And there are limitations in the number of support tickets that you can submit per month..
So if you're comparing like for like that's how the figures stack up. Of course, if you don't want support or security of any kind for your site, and your only requirement is cheap hosting......then you're spoilt for choice. There's virtually no end to the numbers of "providers" who can supply you with diskspace on oversold servers and you can just wing it from thereon. It's what I call the "Occupational Suicide" option.
It's not a course of action that I would recommend if you have a viable business. But if your website isn't important to you, or you don't care about running obsolete software and having dubious neighbours with adult sites etc in close proximity to you.....then it's certainly worth considering. You may well be able to find somebody for less than €50 a year......but the amount you pay will have a direct bearing on the level of service you receive. Because at those unsustainable levels of pricing there is no margin for the provision of professional support personnel. Just bear in mind in that scenario you're on your own as regards your site, and depending where you go, you may well be on your own in the matter of having a reliable hosting service and e-mail facility as well.
One point I do want to emphasise is that if you do not have a current WebSpain account, you are not a WebSpain client. Therefore we will be unable to assist you with any problems that you may encounter. Our service is only for current WebSpain clients, as they are our sole focus of attention.
If you want to maintain similar levels of service then you're looking at over €1000 a year minimum......compared to our example price point of €395. Of course you can get cheaper if you're willing to lower your expectations. But when you go to the very bottom of the barrel then it's not how much money you can save, it's how much grief you can withstand!