Unmetered dedicated server is a practice in web hosting and the name of a specific IT infrastructure service provider that works out of Los Angeles. This article is about the general practice of providing unmetered usage with dedicated server hosting. To understand what “unmetered” means you will need to know what features it is that are being restricted or measured.
The term unmetered refers to one way of measuring bandwidth, so it’s important to have an understanding of bandwidth in order to put the unmetered dedicated server option in context.
Bandwidth can be measured either by capacity or by total usage. The hosting customer selects an amount of data transfer to be allocated per month. The offerings for dedicated servers often range from 10 GB/month to 10000 GB/month. The customer is then allocated this amount of bandwidth and often charged a steep penalty if the usage runs over.
When total usage is measured, it can mean that either the total traffic in, the total traffic out, or both are measured on a monthly basis, but which of these three measurements is being used is usually not prominently displayed on the web hosting service’s dedicated server page. It is, therefore, important for customers to establish the exact parameters of bandwidth usage plans.
Bandwidth can also be measured by capacity. This is the more scientific meaning of the term bandwidth. In this approach, capacity for data transfer at any given moment is measured in megabytes per second (shown as MBps or MB/sec) or megabits per second (shown as Mbps or Mb/sec). Since making the b capital or lowercase is not consistently done, and since the difference grows larger as increasingly large amounts of data transfer are being discussed (a byte is 8 bits; a Megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes, or 8,000,000 megabits), it is important for a hosting customer to be absolutely sure about the details of the terms of a hosting program that measures bandwidth by capacity.
How Hosting with Bandwidth Capacity Works
It’s easy to understand hosting that measures bandwidth by amount of data transfer per month, once you know whether data in, out, or both are being counted. If the transfer amount is 10 GB or 10,000 GB, you know where you stand.
But with bandwidth capacity, different measurement systems are used. One could track the mean bandwidth capacity used during a period, the maximum bandwidth capacity used during a period, have a cap placed on the bandwidth capacity that contains the amount of bandwidth capacity used, or use burstable billing (also called the 95th percentile method), which ignores the top five percent of the sample, allowing for a small amount of overage in a given month. In all of these cases except unmetered, a penalty fee will likely be assessed for usage over-runs.
In the unmetered approach to bandwidth capacity billing, as in other billing methods that focus on bandwidth capacity, the total amount of bandwidth usage in a month is not taken into account. Instead, a bandwidth capacity limit is set in the network connection. This limit could be 10 Mpbs—basic Ethernet speed—or it could be higher, for example 100 Mbps. There is no possibility of a penalty fee for over-usage. Instead, the possibility is that high traffic that exceeds the chosen speed’s capabilities to serve in a reasonable amount of time will degrade everyone’s experience. For this reason, the choice of a bandwidth capacity that can meet the maximum demand is important.
Choosing an Unmetered Dedicated Server
If you are considering an unmetered dedicated server, there are a few things you should know. First, you should have a good idea of the bandwidth capacity your operation needs. Second, the web host should have the capacity to allow you to grow into more bandwidth consumption as needed. In order for you to know this, you will require excellent monitoring capabilities. Because the details of bandwidth billing is often a hidden or downplayed portion of the advertising of dedicated server hosts, you may have to do some digging to find the details of the terms. Make sure you understand them fully before you sign up.
Other than the bandwidth billing issues, the same choices need to be made as in selecting any dedicated server web hosting offering: disk space, amount of RAM, processor number and type, platform, managed or unmanaged hosting, etc. By giving all of the parameters, including the bandwidth, detailed attention, you have a better shot at finding the hosting that best suits your needs.
As you can see, there is a lot more to bandwidth than what you see listed on a web hosts feature list. When it comes to a dedicated server it is especially important that you understand the exact limits and options that are being offered as well as any upgrade options and fees, overage fees, or other charges you man incur if you don’t stay within the hard limits the web host has set for your particular server. An unmetered dedicated server may not have any set monthly limit, but will still be limited to the amount of transfer that can be happening at one time.
Each web host has their own way of defining resource allotment and usage. Make sure that you read the terms and conditions and are very clear about what resources you have available and what happens if you reach or exceed those limits.