In short Unmetered Virtual Private Server, a.k.a VPS is a service on which the outgoing and incoming traffic is unmetered. Some hosting providers are using marketing tricks to advertise their unmetered services as unlimited, which is not the case with the unmetered hosting. Even if the traffic is not counted/metered, there is still a limitation on how much traffic you can generate. That limitation comes from the bandwidth capacity on the NIC (network interface controller or card) on your VPS or Dedicated server.
We have this topic covered in more detail in another blog post: Unmetered HOSTING, WHAT is it, and WHY do you need it?
But to summarize, the traffic limitation can be seen in the following way:
|NIC bandwidth||Monthly traffic|
Back in my early sysadmin days, I imagined the bandwidth as a pipe, where 10 Mbps is a drinking straw, and 100Gbps is a gas pipeline. Now imagine transferring all the water from a lake with the straw, quite a challenge, huh? 🙂
As nowadays the golden standard for network capacity on VPS services is 1Gbps, many hosting providers can’t, and many don’t want to offer unmetered services, thus creating confusion by false advertising unmetered hosting as a ploy, e.g., InMotion hosting, which leads us to one of the main points of this blog post.
Is Unmetered VPS Real?
The answer is, it depends. Mainly it depends on the hosting provider and its business model. Some are advertising as unmetered while overselling their hardware and bandwidth resources. Others advertise as unmetered while offering from 10 to 100Mbps (remember the straw). Others, like us, stay fully transparent on this subject. In fact, our whole business model is revolving around unmetered hosting. Since our beginning, we’ve started offering 1Gbps and 10Gbps unmetered dedicated servers, and gradually this allowed us to migrate our VPS business model from VPS with limited traffic to unmetered.
So How Do We Make It Possible?
Since our beginning, our goal was to serve clients with high bandwidth consumption. When we started, five years ago, 10Gbps dedicated servers were rare among hosting providers, almost insane, as 100Gbps dedicated servers are looking now, right?
With this goal set, we had to partner with major Tier 1 providers in order to get the best performance per cost and we did it. This opened endless possibilities for our clients and us. In the beginning, we’ve started with 100Mbps unmetered and as the feedback of our clients was amazing we’ve started gradually upgrading our VPS hosting plans to the point where we’re now, and that is 1Gbps NIC with 500Mpbs guaranteed 24/7.
You may think that with this guarantee if we have 20 clients, a regular server 10Gbps NIC will be 100% utilized, meaning 20 VMs per node, which is not economically sustainable for any web hosting operator, and you’re right. You see, all web hosting providers are trying to have high density in their server racks, in order to fully utilize the physical space we have in our data centers. With that said, having 20 VMs in 1U space is unsustainable, but having 100 VMs in 1U is not, and that’s exactly what we do. Our VPS nodes are well-balanced machines, specifically built for such purpose. Starting from 64 CPUs and up, +384 GB RAM and RAID 10 powered SSD or NVME storage, each equipped with 4x10Gbps NIC gives us the capacity to serve 100 clients per node at 70% utilization. This gives us the desired density per 1U without sacrificing client performance.
You may say 100 VMs x 500Mbps != 40Gbps, and again, you will be right. But in reality, not all clients use 500Mpbs at the same time. Bandwidth consumption varies from the client’s project and its user base in particular. For example, a client that has some VOD service operating in EU in CET timezone will have peak hour or let’s say 1Gbps usage in the late nights 16:00 to 21:00 UTC, and another client with similar service in the USA operating in will have peak hours from 22:00 to 03:00 UTC, and such situations give both users to utilize 1Gbps at the peak hours.
Of course, we can’t always count on our client behavior and their projects, that’s why we balance the client distribution across our nodes very carefully. This combined with our policy to keep our nodes at ~70% utilization on their NIC, gives us around 10Gbps capacity surplus which gives us the freedom to guarantee all our clients 500Mbps 24/7 and give them the ability to fully utilize their 1Gbps NIC when needed while maintaining the stability and performance we promise.
What Is Next?
The next evolution of our Unmetered VPS hosting platform will be to upgrade it from 500Mbps to 1Gbps guarantee, and our team is working on building the next generation of our VPS nodes that will be able to handle 100Gbps. As we’ve seen so far, handling such an amount of traffic can be a tricky task to achieve, as we need to manage multiple bottlenecks like IO and CPU.
We hope that you enjoyed reading this article, learned how unmetered VPS hosting is even possible, and how to recognize and avoid falsely advertised unmetered services. If you have any comments or recommendations, we would be more than happy to see them in our comment section. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our support team at any time.