Overselling gone way overboard: Site5.com – Product Review 2006
Site5.com is a web hosting company around for quite some time. Site5.com was founded in 1999 and has seen the up and downs of the industry during these years. They seem to be a stable company. Over the years we used their services and left with some good experiences as well with some not so good experiences. If you read some well-known web hosting forums you will run into the discussions about Site5.com every once in a while. It looks like Site5.com has some stretches with excellent service times and then some hiccups where the service or support level lacks a little bit.
We went to Site5.com’s website this past weekend to check out their current products and to provide a quick review of the same. We have been following the web hosting industry for quite a few years now the first thing that comes to mind seeing the web hosting products is:
Overselling gone way overboard!
We took the time to read the F.A.Q.s on Site5.com’s website and ran into the following statement:
My website gets a lot of traffic–will this be a problem?
This usually depends on the nature of your website. While relatively straightforward sites (think basic html/xhtml content, most shopping sites, webpages, blogs, etc.) can receive tens of thousands of hits at any given time and work perfectly fine, problems can arise with more complex sites–sites with lots of images, scripts or interactivity with visitors. Tens of thousands of users each accessing a database at the same time can cause quite a strain on a server and might be too much for a shared web hosting environment.
The thing to remember is that the term "shared hosting" (which is another term for standard web hosting) means that your site will share a server with other users. This allows for plenty of usage while keeping prices low, but certain sites may not be appropriate for such an environment. If you are unsure whether your high volume website will work with our shared plans, please feel free to e-mail our sales department, and we will be happy to assist you in determining the best solution for your needs.
After reading this we went back to their page that lists the available products (see screenshot below).
That does not match at all. If a website would use 500+ GB bandwidth or more a month, it would be way beyond a shared web hosting account. Joe Average might not know, but anyone with a little experience would be able to recognize this right away. Personally we do not mind overselling – if done in moderation and in an honest way. What turns us off is the clear discrepancy between was is offered as their base web hosting package and the disguised disclaimer in their F.A.Q.s.! We then looked the Terms of Service that Site5.com offers on their website and ran into the following statement (screenshot):
Putting these things together and looking at them with some experience as a web host or system administrator allows to judge the craziness of this offer and what would really happen to a client starting to use all the resources he signed up for. This is overselling gone way overboard and we think that Site5.com would do better with a more reasonable approach.
Enough complaining. Looking at the features that Site5.com offers, it looks a customer will get a loaded hosting package with everything and more he would ever need. A funny thing on the site – even with such generous bandwidth allowances on each hosting package, Site5.com still lists a fee for Bandwidth overage, One goody not every web host offers nowadays – Ruby on Rails is available at Site5.com. Also, if you are looking for PHP 4 AND 5 availability, Site5.com has it. Judging Site5.com on the features puts them in the top class of providers in the shared hosting arena.
Conclusion: Based on our own experience and word on web hosting forums, Site5.com is a stable web host usually providing excellent service. If you are a customer looking for a good web host at a reasonable price, Site5.com might be a good option. However – a customer has to keep in mind that the offered resources – especially bandwidth – are generous and that a client will most-likely never be able to use them due to the fine-print in the TOS and FAQs. Shared hosting usually ends in a reasonable area of about 50-60 GB on an account and a VPS or dedicated server is the next step up – not an account at Site5.com.