Web Hosting Limits Exposed

Did you see a web hosting plan that offers unlimited everything? Do you ever wonder how everything can be unlimited since resources are limited? Then, it is the right time to realize that most of the unlimited things are not really unlimited. Webhosts imposes several restrictions to limit the resources used by a single website even though the plan says it as unlimited. Here is a list of those restrictions.

CPU Usage:

One of the major things limited by your web host is the CPU resource that your website uses. The more scripts and visitors in your website, the higher the CPU usage. This CPU usage restriction prevents from high traffic or website with large no of scripts being hosted in shared hosting. If your website grows, you may want to opt-in for a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or a dedicated server. If you ever thought of hosting a big website in shared hosting with unlimited everything plan, then your website is going to get suspended for some amount of time for high CPU usage.

Physical Memory Usage:

Physical memory usage indicates the amount of memory your website is using. The memory usage of your website increases when you have scripts with global variables, register variables, or use a MySQL Memory storage engine where every record is stored in the memory. Usually the shared hosting accounts are restricted to limited amount of memory say, 1GB. If your website uses memory beyond this limit, your scripts will be queued or suspended in some cases which cases your website to slow down. So, again the choice will be to opt-in for a VPS or dedicated server.

Virtual Memory Usage:

Virtual memory usage limits are higher than traditional memory usage. In virtual memory, contents are mapped into hard-disk or SSD’s then to the physical memory (i.e.) RAM. Virtual memory increases when your normal memory usage is full or when your scripts are using storage memory based on hard disks. Although, virtual memory limits are not that severe, still it is better to know that there is a restriction imposed on, and that it is not unlimited.

Entry Processes:

Entry processes are small scripts that run when a visitor visits your website, like a PHP script running in your page. Traditionally, this was confused with number of visitors online in your website. However it is not true, because these scripts will be executed very fast, within a second and so entry processes increase and decrease instantly. However, if your website is huge, this will affect the loading time as upcoming entry processes are queued. This restriction helps hosts to ensure that you are not overusing the resources allocated to you.


Processes are account wide scripts that run in your hosting account. These may include scripts such PHP, ASP, and other account wide services that run in your hosting account. When your hosting account exceed this limit, the upcoming processes are queued and in some cases Apache server will return with 500 error codes.

I/O Usage:

Another restriction imposed by webhosts is the I/O usage restriction. I/O refers to any input/output operations performed in files. For example, you may save user’s details or read form user’s details. This incurs a I/O usage. So, no matter whether it is HDD or SSD these restrictions are still applicable. I/O usage is usually in KB/s. 1000 Kb/s means that you cannot use more than read or write speed of 1000 KB/s.


IOPS means Input Output Operations per Second, which means that each time you perform a IO operation, the count increases. The IOPS prevents you from performing frequent read/writes to your files. The limits vary depending on the hosting providers but this prevents you from using too many read/write heads.

File Usage:

Webhosts prevent you from using too many files by restricting the files in your hosting account. Every file such as .txt, .html, .php, etc count as a file. If you thinking about creating a file hosting website in shared hosting environment, then it is not possible because when the file restriction limit is reached, you cannot create any more files. So even though you are being offered unlimited disk space, there is a restriction on number of files and the maximum size of files allowed. This is how; you are prevented from exhausting hosting space.

Other Restrictions:

Apart from these, there are other restrictions such as amount of MySQL databases that can be created, limits on email accounts, FTP accounts, Mailing lists, Subdomain limits, etc.

So based on the restrictions, you are not actually granted unlimited resources. Granting unlimited resources are practically impossible and also not a good solution. You must also know that, these restrictions are levied to ensure all the accounts hosted in shared hosting environment do not disturb the other accounts hosted. So if your website is working well all the time, it is because of these restrictions implemented. If your website grows, it is better to go with VPS or Dedicated server rather than traditional shared hosting environment.

Source : http://hostinspects.com/blog/Hosting-Limits-Exposed


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