Most of us encounter the term ‘unlimited’ on a regular basis. Unlimited minutes. Unlimited texts. Unlimited data. Unlimited downloads. Whether it’s mobile phone service, home internet services or file downloads through a premium account filehoster or multihoster service, we’re bombarded with promises of unlimited access to unlimited data, simply for whatever one-time or monthly rate a company or service is asking for.
For as often as services are advertised as unlimited, few, if any, can actually live up to that claim if put to the test. Generally, these services are are a mass-appeal product, and generally the prices are cheap or at least affordable for the totality of the products, services or resources provided in the unlimited package. If any limits are acknowledged by the company offering unlimited services, they’re usually tucked away in the terms of service or somewhere else equally hidden.
This post is about exploring unlimited services: what to expect and what they really are.
Unlimited services – why they’re cheap
Providing services can be very expensive. As in crazy expensive. However, in many cases when unlimited services are advertised, the prices for the end-user are generally pretty cheap. The reason for this is because these unlimited services are a shared resource. This means that you and 10, 100, 1,000 or even 10,000 or more other people are paying for the same access.
Let’s look at a service provider like LinkSnappy. For $12.99 / €11.75 you get 30 days access to premium downloads from 20-30 premium hosters (maybe more) like Rapidgator, Uploaded, Turbobit and WDUpload. Now, LinkSnappy does have daily limits in place for several filehosters, but as a whole for your account, they advertise no global daily download limit, or ‘unlimited’.
Services like this don’t advertise €12 services because that’s what it costs to run their business and get access to the services offered. They do it to be competitive and attract new members. However, a good service will only offer unlimited plans or packages knowing what their average customer uses and build their network accordingly beforehand. In the case of filehosting / filesharing services offering downloads to the public, even those that don’t have usage limits tucked away in the Terms of Service or secret limits they don’t tell you about, few, if any, could handle sustained parallel downloads from 1Gbps-10Gbps internet connections using M.2 storage from a bunch of users paying a fractional amount of operational costs. If you’re paying substantially less for a service than you could get with your own efforts because it’s a shared service, or cannot or will not pay the rate for dedicated services, it’s unreasonable to expect that you can attempt to dominate a service’s resources endlessly without eventually running into trouble.
This is the same for home internet service and mobile data services, though their investments can be substantially larger — hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars — to provide service to an area, but really not on-topic for this site. The idea behind it, however, is the same as with premium filehosters and multihoster / debrid services.
Unlimited is a marketing term
For the most part, the use of ‘unlimited’ with any type of service is a marketing term. It is not the dictionary meaning nor is it meant to be. Users purchasing shared services should know the difference, and companies generally outline either limitations or disclaim guarantees of service within their terms of service.
When a service is advertised as unlimited, it’s reasonable to expect that the average user or even moderately above-average user won’t be limited by something on the service provider’s side. That’s a better definition of unlimited in this context. To my knowledge none of these services are unlimited. Presently I don’t think that’s technologically possible.
One can argue that advertising something as unlimited when it’s not unlimited is false advertising or lying, and there’s merit to that. In fairness, service providers who do not technically have limits outside of whatever network or hardware limitations are in place could not easily define limits. Further muddying the waters, for most or all of the aforementioned services, premium account filehoster and multihoster services included, any such limitations could depend on the time of day and geographic region of the server or network providing the service. It’s not only impractical, but likely impossible to define what true limits are in place in those cases, not to mention the average user doesn’t care about hardware or network specifications, and there’s no easy way to refine all that tech-speak into an easy-to-digest and shiny word, hence, “unlimited”.
So, at the end of the day, “unlimited” is a way of saying that the average user should reasonably expect to be able to download or stream as much as they want without fear of being throttled, blocked or suspended. If your usage is well outside of normal, however, you may eventually see first-hand the limits of these so-called unlimited services.