Why Overselling Is Great For Their Business and Bad For You

Editor’s Note:
This post is from our archives, and not all content is still relevant. For a fresh look at our company & tech, we recommend these sections:
Our Managed WordPress Hosting Service
Articles on WordPress for Business
Industry-specific Hosting Solutions

Seen this ad before?

Sure you have, you may even host at an outfit like that.

Overselling explained

Thanks Wikipedia

In the web hosting industry, the term is used to describe a situation in which a company provides hosting plans that are unsustainable if every one of its customers uses the full extent of services advertised. The term is usually referred to the web space and bandwidth transfer allowance. A hosting company may offer unlimited space and unlimited bandwidth, however, they put other restrictions in place such as CPU usage or inode limit. They may have onerous restrictions and one-sided contracts that lets them cancel the hosting of anybody that puts a strain on their system or fully uses their claimed allotments.

So essentially if you actually want to use the resources you paid for or were promised… you are SOL. Ever wonder why your little scrap-booking blog at the EconoHost is so dang slow? More than likely there are 5000 other little websites fighting for resources on a 4 year old machine designed to handle 1/10th that amount.

Overselling is not a bad thing in itself, but when taken to excess to maximize profit, it’s very bad for you.

How is Pagely Different?

Most importantly is that our nodes are way under utilized, purposefully so. We made a decision early on to keep client/server ratios way down on our plans. We obviously charge more than your average EconoHost and we feel our clients deserve to get what they pay for.

Here is a snapshot of a CPU load averages for the week from a single node on our network:
This node has: 5 processor cores, 7gb ram and about 550 WordPress sites on it.

Average load is around 1.8-2.0, the daily spiked to ~4 are the nightly backups.
1 processor core = 100 on the graph. Pink colored downspikes are from the nightly backups.

So what does this mean? It means that the processors on this particular node are never more than about 20% utilized.

The Commited (light purple) and Active (dark purple) lines show usage of RAM.

All the RAM available is utilized on Linux systems and taken for use. However the committed and active lines show a reflection of actual usage. So this node averages 3gb of RAM usage. So about 60% goes unused, again purposefully so.

3 cores on this MySQL node barely touched.

We also move all our MySQL transactions to their own nodes as well. The MySql node above that corresponds to the Web server node is so under used it is almost laughable. This is a 3 core; 4gb Ram MySQL node. The ram usage is nill.

Bottom Line

You get what you pay for. In addition to our automatic backups, automatic WordPress core and plugin upgrades and other ‘invented here at Pagely’ benefits: we have made a commitment to quality of service. We have an internal benchmark to always keeps at least 60% of any node on our network un-used. This means your site and other sites on your server can spike in traffic and resources as needed and have the extra resources to do so. While the newcomers play in the sandbox, we’ll continue to innovate and provide a quality of service our customers have come to expect.

We have invested heavily in our hosting infrastructure and our customers gain the benefit, and we also strive for premier standards in WordPress hosting security.

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  1. This really should be required reading for clients contracting designers and developers for website creation. Nothing stings worse than launching a shiny new design on a crippled shared hosting account 🙂

    Thanks for educating the community on the things no one’s talking about!