Executive Corner

The 5 Worst Products In Webhosting

I was talking to a colleague yesterday, and he used the word ‘bulletproof’ to describe the robustness of our services. I responded with “That word doesn’t mean what you think it means.” It got me thinking about buzzwords we use for hosting that sound good but aren’t. I’ve tried to crack the code on a few of those phrases below.

1) Bulletproof hosting



What the customer is meant to assume: “I don’t want my sites to go down no matter what happens. So I want them to be bulletproof, right?”

Cracking the code: The host is a haven for criminals. Are you one?

Want to SPAM, distribute warez, pirate Avatar, or stream child porn on your servers? Go nuts!

You can be as illegal as you want and they won’t pull the plug. They’ll hide from the authorities so you don’t have to!

The bottom line: A respectable business doesn’t want “bulletproof” hosting. Period.

2) Unlimited hosting



What the customer is meant to assume: ” I don’t want limits on my hosting! Who wants limits on their hosting? Of course I want my hosting to be unlimited!!111″

Cracking the code: I’ve made my feelings on Unlimited Hosting well known.

In the context of these providers, “Unlimited” really means “We’re not  going to tell you how well your systems are going to be able to scale, so good luck growing!” These providers bet on the majority of their users simply not using that many resources to compensate for those that do. But believe me, there’s a limit, a responsible provider will simply boot any abuser off their network if they start taking the term “unlimited” literally.

Contrast this with a provider like us who tells you precisely what you’re getting for your hard earn money and I think you’ll agree we have the better business model.

It’s a lazy, lying marketing game to call a hosting product unlimited and I am still disgusted that otherwise respectable hosts use it.

The bottom line: If you want to set yourself up for surprise failure, buy into the hype – go unlimited.

3) Cheap hosting


What the customer is meant to assume: “These guys are amazing! I’ve never heard of them but they say they can host my whole business and give me 100% uptime and rock solid support for a few bucks a month. Of course I want to save the money and get me some cheap hosting!”

Cracking the code: If it’s too good to be true, it is. We’ve been around for over 15 years, and we’ve seen more dead, failed, shuttered hosts than you can imagine.

Many of them were hot for a while before they up and died. Most lie about their infrastructure and experience to get you to pull the trigger.

Experience matters. Transparency matters too.

Learn about who you are trusting your business to, and figure out what you’re giving up when hunting for a bargain.

The bottom line: Going out of business is not cheap. Stay away from cheap hosting.

4) Free hosting


What the customer is meant to assume: “I get to put up anything I want and you won’t charge me anything? Where do I sign up? Of course I want free hosting!”

Cracking the code: Somebody else gets to make money off of the efforts you put in. Somebody else gets to exert control over you if they want to, whether you are doing something illegal or not. Somebody else is deciding what resources you need to grow. And they are getting a big cut of the fruits of your labor, which isn’t very ‘free’ at the end of the day.

Whether they are selling ads based on your content, or whether they are simply taking a cut of your revenue or of the traffic that you attract, that’s money you’re not getting. With a provider like ServInt, you know exactly what you’re getting.

The bottom line: TANSTAAFL. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Know what you’re giving up to get a free resource. If you are popular in the least, I’ll bet it’s far more than what you could gain by taking control yourself.

5) Windows hosting


What the customer is meant to assume: “I’ll get the same level of usability, security, performance, and reliability that I get on my Windows desktop! Of course I want Windows hosting!”

Cracking the code: You’ll get the same level of usability, security, performance, and reliability that you get on your Windows desktop! Yikes!

The bottom line: Ok ok, that was mostly a joke. Windows hosting does indeed do some things really well.

But as a general rule, the infrastructure that supports the bulk of the Internet is Open Source and the vast majority of server related applications, and the innovation guiding them, is based on free and open software.

In general, steer clear of Windows hosting unless you absolutely need it for a specific technological reason.

Cracking the code,


Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page!

Photo credits: amayu, Erica Marshall, ecastro, Lori Spindler, Justin Marty, Don Graham

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  1. The 5 Worst Products In Webhosting... ServInt is a pioneering provider of high-reliability web hosting for businesses worldwide. They share tips on what web hosting you should stay away from....
    digthiswebhost.com /
  2. In the 12 years I've been using web hosting providers I admit I've fallen prey to a few of these gimmicks. The most frustrating two for me were: 1) "Unlimited" - ya, until you hit the host's unstated limits and then they either force you to leave ("Sorry, it's not you, it's us... can we still be friends?") or they slow down your site to the point that you leave on your own. 2) "Cheaper must be better!" - This one always gets me because I was raised to be ultra conservative (cough)cheap(cough). I always thought, "Heck, webhosting is a perfect example of a total commodity product where there are millions of players providing very similar products and services in a pure competitive marketplace. Well, when I look back at the 13 companies I was with before ServInt (where I've been for 6 years now) many of them didn't have a sustainable business model and their company's site is either down, hacked, or a parked page. Kinda scary to think that at one time I was actually comparing some of these companies with ServInt! On a related note: I have a lot of people that come to me and say, "Why don't you just run your sites on these $10 a month hosts that provide tons of disk space and bandwidth?!?" Very few people really comprehend the complexities and costs associated with keeping a websites that generate 10+ million pageviews a month up and running smoothly.
    Rob Ludlow /
  3. Couldn't agree more. It's always amazing to me how many people are swayed by 'free', 'unlimited', and 'foolproof' (or bulletproof). There is no free lunch, and a well-informed buyer is much more likely to make a wise spending choice. In a way this is all better for you though, in that most of the script kiddies and actual criminals will be looking for those terms, and won't tend to host on your network. One less thing to worry about!
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