Exactly what is meant when web hosting providers advertise unlimited disk space?
The amount of disk space you have when you host your site or blog should not be taken for granted. Every image, HTML file, database, email message and log file that makes up your website will be calculated as part of your total disk space. As you may have discovered, many hosting companies offer unlimited plans that end up being very inexpensive. You could be wondering how they are able to offer so much for so little. The solution lies in the fact that they are not calculating the actual space you are taking up, but by what number of inodes that you are using. Remember all the images, HTML files, databases, and emails? Every one of them count as 1 inode. That may possibly seem like a draw back, but those files can be of any size.
Just what is an Inode?
From Wikipedia: “Inodes store details about files and folders, which can include file ownership, access mode (read, write, execute permissions), and file type.” In other words, it is a lot like the meta-data which is usually associated with photographs. For the benefit of keeping this article short, I will not go into detail about inodes. If you would like to learn more about inodes, I have provided a direct link to the wikipedia page. The link can be found at the end of this article.
Precisely what is my inode limit?
Every website hosting company gives you a maximum number of inodes that can be used. It might vary from as little as 50,000 inodes on up to 300,000 or more inodes per account. This is usually more than you’ll ever need. For anyone who is hosting a small to mid sized blog, you should never have to worry about running out of disk space. For all those in search of business web hosting, you’ll want to be careful. What most people don’t realize is that the inode allocation is applied for everything, including email. If you’re a company possessing a relatively small website, but you have lots of email accounts, pay attention to just how many emails you have. If ever you go over your inode limit, you might receive a nasty gram or worse. Typically, the best hosting solution for medium or large sites with lots of email, would be to stick with either the dedicated server or vps (virtual private server) route. Here you possess more control over the amount of files you can have. Hint: You are only limited by the amount of disk space you pay for.
Going Over Your Hosting Inode Limit
Going over your inode limit may well be a nasty experience. Some web site hosting companies will send an email/letter warning you that you are near to using up your inode limit. For those who fail to act, you could have your account suspended or worse. Others start limiting certain services when you reach a given threshold. Still others will just suspend your account without warning until you remove files. Since I’m sure no one wants their site to go down, this is one thing you do not want happening.
When deciding on a web hosting company, be certain to read and understand their TOS, paying close attention to the usage section. In the event that they offer cheap hosting or are a free web host, they must describe in depth just what is an appropriate inode usage limit. They should also have what the consequences are for breaking that limit. Should you have any questions pertaining to their TOS, by all means contact them. They should have absolutely nothing to hide and really should answer any questions you might have.
Wade Bailey is a proud contributing author and writes content on several subjects including web hosting. You can continue reading more of Wade’s web hosting articles at “All Things Web Hosting” – located at http://solidcheaphosting.com.