Its fairly self evident that even unlimited hosting plans have to reach some actual limit – since there are finite communication resources in the world, there has to be some kind of limit to the amount of bandwidth, storage, and CPU time that your sites take up on a host’s servers. Indeed, regardless of the stated policy, every host has to perform some sort of rationing to keep the servers from overheating and crashing outright.
Since storage space and bandwidth have become extremely cheap and abundant in recent years, more and more hosts – like this site’s host, Bluehost – are moving to an unlimited resource policy. Counting each user profile’s megabytes of data and terabytes of monthly transfer just weren’t important limiting factors anymore. Most people would use such a small part of a modern hard drive that these metrics were irrelevant to the host’s actual limits.
And with the rise of dynamic websites and scripting languages that interact with database entries, the real load limit had been on CPU time. A busy site that doesn’t cache its pages can take up a whole lot of processing power, and this tends to be the limiting factor to most shared and VPS hosting environments. In fact, it has one of the leading causes of hosting account suspensions – and it can be considered the greatest curse of web popularity.
To combat the inconvenience of processing limitations, Bluehost is taking on a new approach. Where Bluehost would once ban or suspend accounts that consistently went over CPU quotas, they’ve know implemented a throttling application that allows sites to slow down to compensate for bursts of traffic that would otherwise cause a server jam-up. This allows other sites on the hosting platform to run at normal speeds, and it allows popular sites to stay online in the shared hosting environment even if they’re getting a little bit too big for it. In the meantime of course, you can track how much your account is being throttled and make the appropriate changes to on-page code and database calls. A few tweaks in which addons you use or a reduction in dynamic elements can drastically cut down a site’s server CPU usage, so this change makes instances of over-use a lot less dramatic.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Bluehost has completely solved the issues of limited resources in an unlimited or unmetered hosting environment, but from the user’s perspective, its one step closer to playing out that way for all practical purposes.