In case you happen to be looking for web hosting or cloud hosting solutions at this very moment, I want to take some time to address an issue which continually annoys me and, in all likelihood, will annoy you. That issue, how web hosting, cloud hosting, VPS/VDS and dedicated web hosting is marketed.
While a fair amount of web hosting marketing is straight forward, a good amount of it is designed to confuse and mislead.
Here are some examples.
Without question, the single most misleading web hosting marketing term. Unlimited bandwidth, designed to dream up the possibility of unlimited data transfer regardless of server type, connection throughput and monthly payment, is a term specifically used to sell unaware consumers on purchasing a solution which sounds too good to be true. On its head, unlimited bandwidth sounds exactly as it is - unlimited, as in, never ending or infinite. The truth is more realistic.
Unlimited bandwidth is a term which really means a consumer can purchase a large quantity of bandwidth from a provider and use as much as that bandwidth on a monthly basis as they want without being hit with overage charges. More narrowly it means a consumer purchases a pre-determined quantity of bandwidth for the month, a specific numerical value, which a consumer can use as needed. Once the consumer eclipses that amount, overage charges apply. Unlimited does not mean unlimited - infinite, never ending, endless - as the language suggests. It is a marketing trick designed to cater to those not in the know.
The very concept of the cloud is ridding cramped offices of their IT closet to offload that data into a virtualized environment located a world away. The basic premise of the cloud is to use a server stored in a data center to cut down on internal IT issues and the environmental impact of those IT closets. While the notion of cloud computing as a green tech is nice and marketable, it isn't true.
As seen from multiple reports - here, here, here and here, the selling of the cloud as a green tech doesn't really hold up under scrutiny. Sure, data centers help individual businesses cut down on their electric bill/environmental footprint yet they also produce more pollution/consumer more electricity than that single business ever would.
Data centers and cloud tech are great things which essentially function as the operational backbone of the ICT market, yet to call it a green tech is a bold face lie.
Every web hosting and cloud hosting company under the sun pines to claim 99.999% uptime in their ToS (Terms of Service). They pine to state a figure so high as to convey downtime of solutions will never take place and in the unlikely event that they do, downtime will be seconds long and wholly covered by a comprehensive repayment plan.
It all sounds nice and swell yet guaranteed uptime isn't guaranteed. If hosting companies like Amazon, Google, Rackspace and Digital Ocean can experience unforeseen downtime, there is no reason your hosting company of choice won't experience it also. The best thing to do is make sure your ToS provide a comprehensive payback plan for unintended downtime and that you, as a consumer, are fine with those repayment plans.
So, is the web hosting industry as a whole dishonest? No. Does the industry sell some marketing lies to the public in an effort to bolster the standing of their products? Yes. The only real choice you have is to decide which company - marketing and all - suits and works for your needs the best.
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