No-Oversell Hosting Guarantee No-Oversell Hosting Guarantee
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No-Oversell Hosting Guarantee

Hosting Overselling is the practice of a Web host selling the same disk space and bandwidth to multiple customers. It is made possible by the fact that most hosting customers never use their allotted resources to their full potential. However, it raises ethical questions about what a hosting customer is actually paying for, or rather, what they are paying for but not receiving in return.

Canvas Host guarantees you that 100% of the space and bandwidth you pay for will never be resold to another customer, nor will we manage our resources in a way that adversely affects your Web site's performance, including: sporadic downtime, site unavailability, database errors, email delivery problems, or unplanned migrations of your site to other servers in our network.

If you do go over your space and/or bandwidth, your account will not be suspended or cancelled, nor will you be assessed hidden fees for "breaking the terms" of use. A member of our staff will contact you to discuss upgrading you to a higher plan level, and that's it.

When you purchase hosting and reseller services from Canvas Host, you can count on the full resources of that plan to be available for your use. You have our guarantee!


Overselling - The Unsustainable Story Behind It

Have you ever seen this error when trying to access a hosting company's Web site? If you have, it is your first clue that the Web host you are trying to reach has oversold -- and overcommitted -- its resources, and simply cannot handle the traffic or load of its customers on its servers.

Because Web hosting is a highly technical service, potential customers in need of Web hosting may not know what to look for in a good provider, and fall back on the basic economic principle of value for their money, (getting more for less). They like the idea of being able to get ample space and data transfer, lots of freebies, add-on tools -- in short, a complete package -- for pennies on the dollar as compared to consulting with a professional company. If they can get it all for less than $5 per month, it certainly is a bargain of a deal!

Many Web host oversellers are aware of this trait in unsuspecting customers, and use it to an unfair advantage by offering "unlimited" amounts of disk space and bandwidth with their hosting plans. Furthermore, the pricing for these accounts is greatly discounted to such a low price that most customers never give it a second thought and sign up.

We have on occasion been asked why our plans are "limited", when so many other hosts out there offer "unlimited" space and storage. Simple. There is no such thing as "unlimited". For a host to claim it offers unlimited service is not only unsustainable from the perspective of the host being able to support such a service, but is also a misleading and fraudulent form of advertising in that it implies customers can have something they truly cannot. If you read the fine print of the average "oversell" Web host's Terms of Service, you will find there is in fact a limit on the number of files, or the maximum data transfer rate you can use, which in and of themselves are more limiting than if you hosted with a "no-oversell" provider like Canvas Host. While our prices may seem higher than the other, "unlimited" hosts, the value of what we are offering you is far greater and the service is guaranteed, simply because we do not oversell our services.

We do place limits on the amount of storage space you can use and the amount of bandwidth allotted to your plan. We do this so we can guarantee accessibility and reliability of your account and ensure no other customer can "overrun" into your space and harm the performance of your Web site(s). However, the space and bandwidth in our plans is extremely generous and 99% of our customers will never go over. If you find you are approaching your quota we will notify you and suggest upgrading you to the next plan level up -- and that's all there is to it. No hassle, no complicated Terms of Service, just good, honest, sustainably provided Web hosting you can count on!

How Overselling Works

The basic notion of overselling is to resell the same resources many times. Consider this simple exercise in numbers.

The amount of space the average Web site needs is less than one Gigabyte. The average monthly bandwidth the site might us is less than 10 Gigabytes. If you pay $10 per month for the service, here is how the pricing breaks down:

  Plan Space Plan BW Price Price/Space Price/BW
Web Host 1 1GB 10GB $10/mo. $10/mo. $1/mo.

Now consider that a host is offering you much more at the same price. As an example, 100 Gigabytes of space and 1000 Gigabytes of bandwidth, still for only $10 per month.

  Plan Space Plan BW Price Price/Space Price/BW
Web Host 2 100GB 1000GB $10/mo. $.10/mo. $.01/mo.

What a bargain! $.10 per Gigabyte of storage? A penny per Gigabyte of bandwidth? It looks too good to be true. And it is, because no matter how large or popular your Web site, you will never use all of that space or bandwidth. You won't even come close.

Now, that same host knows your resource needs are only 1/100th of what they are offering you. Because you will never use all of your space and bandwidth, they are likely reselling the unused portions of your account to other customers. So, while they are offering you 100 Gigabytes, through the process of overselling they are able to sell your leftovers to 99 other customers just like you.

Look at this chart of what a typical Web site might use in terms of space and bandwidth compared with what is provided in an oversold hosting plan:

  Used Space Used BW Plan Space Plan BW Resources Used
1 Normal Site 1GB 10GB 100GB 1000GB 1%

Look at those numbers. Just 1% of the customer's allotted space is actually being used. Technically, this means a Web host could turn around and sell this same space and bandwidth to 99 other customers, at pure profit, and not have to worry about running out of space or bandwidth.

Now look at an above-average Web site in terms of space and bandwidth, and compare that to what is provided for in an oversold hosting plan:

  Used Space Used BW Plan Space Plan BW Resources Used
1 Busy Site 30GB 300GB 100GB 1000GB 30%

This single Web site is using 30% of its allotted space and bandwidth. What happens if several of these sites are hosted on an oversold space?

  Used Space Used BW Plan Space Plan BW Resources Used
4 Busy Sites 4 x 30 = 120GB 4 x 300 = 1200GB 100GB 1000GB 120%!

Just four popular sites have used up all of the available space and bandwidth, plus another 20%. This doesn't address the other 96 customers who have been placed on this same oversold space. What about them?

  Used Space Used BW Plan Space Plan BW Resources Used
4 Busy Sites 4 x 30 = 120GB 4 x 300 = 1200GB 100GB 1000GB 120%
96 Normal Sites 96 x 1 = 96GB 96 x 10 = 960GB 100GB 1000GB 96%
Total Used 216GB 2160GB     216%!

Totalled up, all 100 Web sites are now using up 216% of the space and bandwidth available to the host. Or rather, the host has gone OVER its space and bandwidth by 116%. This can mean ONLY one thing - Web sites are now malfunctioning, databases not being written to, email not being sent or received, and many, many angry customers are calling to find out just what is happening.

Let's recap and compare the two previous Web hosts (Web Host 1 and 2). Example 2A below shows what Web Host 2 is actually selling you, after accounting for reselling it to 99 other customers.

  Plan Space Plan BW Price Price/Space Price/BW
Web Host 1 1GB 10GB $10/mo. $10/GB $1/GB
Web Host 2 100GB 1000GB $10/mo. $.10/GB $.01/GB
Web Host 2a 100GB/100 = 1GB 1000GB/100 = 10GB $10/mo. $10/GB $1/GB

You see, in the end, the second Web host is providing you everything as the first. The same space, bandwidth and price per unit. The difference is, the first host advertised its services honestly and accurately, and guaranteed you the space and bandwidth you are paying for, whereas the second host has oversold their services and resold your allocated space and bandwidth 100 times over simply for profit -- with the added risk that nothing is guaranteed.

The Real Costs of Web Hosting

Compared with hosting oversellers, our per-Gigabyte storage and bandwidth may seem that they are priced higher. In reality though, because we do not oversell our services, our per-Gigabyte of actual, apportioned space and bandwidth per account is much lower than many national discount hosts. Furthermore, not only do we guarantee you the space and bandwidth you pay for, we guarantee that the quality of our support will far exceed any national discount host.

The hidden costs of hosting rest primarily in these four things:

1. Quality Servers. Each of our shared hosting servers run high efficiency quad core CPUs with 8GB RAM, and 1000 GB RAID1 (redundant) storage space. These servers, on average, are more than four times as powerful as the type of server most hosts use for a shared environment. They are also four times as expensive.

2. Per-Server Account Limits. Though cPanel offers unlimited-domain accounts, we have chosen to limit the number of domains on each of our servers to a maximum of 100 accounts per server CPU. This ensures that our services, per server, cannot be oversold to more customers than we have available resources.

3. Redundant, Provisioned Bandwidth. As for bandwidth, our hosting plans provide a lot of it, by a ratio of 20 times the monthly bandwidth per each Gigabyte of storage space. We are able to offer this because we have invested a lot of money into quality, redundant, affordable bandwidth through major tier-1 backbone carriers. Should we need more, we purchase more from our upstream carriers. It is just that simple.

4. Professional, Caring Support. Finally, our support services are not outsourced to India to save costs. We operate two sources of first-world support: one based in Oregon (U.S. customers), and one based in the U.K. (for U.K. customers and night-time U.S. support). Our support representatives understand and speak your language. They are all highly educated, attentive to quality, and sincerely care about the well-being of your business and your Web site. Support like this simply costs a lot.

All That, and yet We Still Don't Oversell

When you look at the costs, you might ask how we are able to make a profit. While our operational costs may seem higher, it is through operating a higher-quality and streamlined hosting service that we have been able to offset all of these costs.

While the national vendors may seem to be giving you a great deal, they are in reality charging you for services they can not deliver on. Were each of their customers to demand immediate access to the apportioned space and bandwidth, most discount hosts would implode in less time than it would take for you to back up your data and move to a new provider.

On the contrary, Canvas Host has never oversold our services, not only because we feel it would be unethical, but also because there has never been a need.

Ultimately, to be a profitable host, the service has to be good, the provider accessible and accountable, the customers taken care of and listened to, and in the end, the success of every participant will naturally follow. We have done just that, and we are living proof that quality hosting can be done effectively if done the right way.

Canvas Host will never oversell its hosting service. You have our guarantee.

We ask you to consider this when comparing our services to other providers, and encourage you to ask them whether they will really honor what they claim to be selling you. We look forward to speaking with you and welcome your comments.

Best regards,

David Anderson
Principal, Canvas Host LLC



 


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