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Web Hosting: Overselling Defined

Web Hosting Overselling

Overselling is not a new concept. It may be unethical, but it is something consumers face far too often. From the airline that sold you a ticket and turned you away from the at-capacity flight at the gate to the store that claimed they had a product in stock, when in fact, they had a limited selection of what you wanted to begin with and were all sold out by the time you got there. It isn’t right, it isn’t fair, but it’s a business model that helps these companies make some extra profit.

It’s not that their necessarily deliberately trying to mislead you; oftentimes, the business will even make it up to you somehow. The reason these companies do this is because they are not counting on every customer to utilize their products and services 100%. It’s the same with some web hosting companies.

The Concept of Overselling

Overselling is typically the pretty packaging of a product; not an actual package, but advertising cleverly designed to make the customer believe they are getting a phenomenal deal: a huge value for very little money. While it sounds great, the truth is, you’re paying for a whole bunch of perks you might not use in time or even use at all. You just don’t always know that though, especially with something like web hosting.

The Details

If, for example. you’re offered a package deal from a web hosting company. They’re going to give you 450GB of hard disk space and a whopping 4000GB of bandwidth, and it will cost you less than $10 a month. Sounds great, right? Sure, until your figure out that your website will most likely only use about half the hard disk space you are being offered, let alone the massive amount of bandwidth (although some might use that much, but it will be very few of the company’s customers).

In reality, you’re being offered this oh-so-wonderful deal, as are many customers, some of which are probably being sold and also using the GBs of disk space and bandwidth that you will never use and will possibly never know is being used by someone else.

These offers are made to the customer in order to make the web host look good; to let them stand out above the competition. The truth is, if you as a customer can analyze the offer and see that it appears as too good to be true, well, it most likely is. The company does have to be prepared for the customers who might use all that is offered, however, since few will use this amount of space, they have to resell some of what they’re offering to make their profits.

Unfortunately, there is still no way to always know for sure if a web host is actually in the practice of overselling. You just have to look at the offer and go with your gut. You might eventually find out later on, but then there is so much hassle involved with resolving the issue and moving your site. It’s best to try and find a host who will get things right from the start.

Overselling and Instability

Web host overselling can and does lead to instability. It’s really more than just selling the customer more resources than they will use. It is selling this same pretty package deal to numerous customers. In reality, overselling means the web host is actually selling more resources than they can really deliver.

Think of it this way: a host with 10,000 sites has a pretty good chance of being able to handle and maintain those sites, with the right skills and experience on board, with very little problem. However, trying to host 1,000,000 sites is not only going to be difficult for the host company, but will result in slow loading and transfers, lots of downtime and of course the risk that some of those sites will start exceeding the bandwidth, eating up everyone else’s allotted bandwidth, resulting in a hard shove of many sights right of the edge of the internet.

Web host overselling benefits the company very much, but in the long run, their larger profit margins are bound to result in some very displeased customers. Do your research and try to go with a reputable company and a deal that at least sounds realistic. If it seems fishy, look elsewhere for a web host. Overselling is a risk anyone takes in the web hosting market, however, you can lower your risks by being intuitive and picking a deal that, even though it might cost more, does not offer you the sun, the moon and the stars for a few dollars a month.

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