Is DreamHost Overselling?

I was on the PHP Freaks web forums, and someone said that hosts that say they provide tons of space and bandwidth are overselling, is that true with dreamhost?

Yes, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s like offering rebates. Stores know that not everybody will use them.


All hosts oversell. Even the ones that have nothing better to sell themselves on, claiming that they don’t oversell, are still in an oversold environment because the data centers and their upstream providers oversell.

The “we don’t oversell” marketing gimmick is almost as silly as the uptime guarantees out there.

The little hosts that do nothing but whine non-stop about it have pretty much made web hosting forums useless anymore because it seems like all they do is bash it non-stop, hoping to find a few suckers that will pay 5 times as much for half of the resources.

If all the whining out there was coming from actual customers, then the biggest hosts in the world wouldn’t also be the biggest oversellers. A lot of them don’t like when you point out that the reality is that people don’t want to pay more for less.

Plus, due to lack of millions of dollars, most of them can’t back up the offers that Dreamhost and the other big ones put out there. Instead of just accepting that and moving on, they try to make it sound like if they can’t do it, it can’t be done. It would be like saying Bill Gates couldn’t give someone a new Lamborghini every Christmas, just because most people can’t.

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So, if dreamhost is overselling, does that mean if I were to use 4000+ GB of bandwidth per month (they say I currently have 6272 GB), dreamhost may have some issues with that?

OR, if I were to be using 300 GB’s of the 312 GB’s of space they may have issues with that?

Will Dreamhost ever let me get those numbers even that high? OR will they have issues?

There are Terms of Service to follow, as well, which dictate proper usage. The big one is that you can’t use your disk space for non-webhosted activites, such as backing up your hard disk, or storing your music and/or video collections. If you can justify your disk usage, then it’s not a problem.

Before you hit that bandwidth limit, it’s more likely you’ll max out the CPU on your server, in which case you should move to a more robust plan, such as Private Server (PS), or a dedicated server elsewhere. A site with that much traffic is most likely a revenue generator that should be on a stronger server, possibly dedicated.


Plan limits are in force even for PS servers. I’m not sure about dedicated servers, but I suspect (but don’t know) that they’re in force even for dedicated servers as well.

Given latency from the east coast, I get 5mbs downloads from dreamhost. Grossly extrapolating, if I had one continuous download going, I’d use up 1.6TB of my bandwidth each month. This is pretty close to my old bandwidth limit before the enhancements from autumn 2007. If that download rate is supportable on shared hosting, I think it’s likely that one could use one’s entire bandwidth budget, as long as the downloads were spread out over time and didn’t happen all at once.

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Its actually impossible not to oversell.
If they weren’t over selling they would have to install a 500GB HardDrive just for you, that will cost you $200+ at signup.
To guarantee 5TB a month just for you they would have to purchase a 4MB/s or or 32Mb/s connection just for you costing you at least $200 a month if not a whole lot more.

Hosting plans costing less than $500 a month or so rely on the fact that most people use less than 1% of their available bandwidth and harddrive space.