Web Hosting I/O Usage, IOPS Limit, Entry Processes Limit – What You Need to know

Web Hosting I/O Usage, IOPS Limit, Entry Processes Limit – What You Need to know

what is hosting I/O & IOPS

When we are looking to get a new Web Hosting for our projects, usually we’re being showcased by most Web Hosting & Web Server Providers with how much Storage, Monthly Bandwidth Transfer being offered and some of them will also mention how much Memory & CPU being allocated for their users.

But actually, there are few more items that you should consider before buying any web hosting plan; and these things that we will discussed today are:

  1. I/O Usage, what are they?
  2. IOPS…really? Does this means anything?
  3. Entry Processes
  4. Number of Processes

Usually the 4 items above will not be intentionally disclosed to the end user. On most situation, we can only obtain these technical specs once we actually bought the service, and we can observe the figures within the Hosting Control Panel / CPanel…and again if only the provider configured them to be displayed.

Sometimes we can get the technical information during pre-sales enquiry, via online sales chat or email. But honestly, from our experience most of the sales support people do not have any idea what are these things and you will just ended up frustrated. But yet still worth a try.

Also some web hosting provider did mention some of these technical information in their small print somewhere within their “Terms of Condition”, “Fair Usage Policy”, “Terms of Use”, and other similar fine prints that most user normally does bother to go through.

Let’s look into each of them and how they are actually very important in order to get the most in term of value & performance.

What is Web Hosting I/O Usage?

In Web Hosting matter, I/O Usage is normally referred to disk I/O. Disk I/O speed determines how fast you (or your website, scripts) are allowed to perform input/output (I/O) operations per second on the server disk of your hosting, the more the better. When a visitor visits your website or you send/receive an email, your hosting is performing I/O operations on the server disk.

If you are set to a low I/O speed, your website and scripts will always perform slower, it will not matter how much storage, bandwidth, CPU or RAM you have. A slow hosting may also lead you to data loss and bad email communication.

Providing higher I/O is expensive for the server, this is why most providers don’t allow more than 1 MB/s Disk I/O speed on their shared server. Some SSD Hosting server can provide up to 5MB/s of disk I/O limit. As a result, your websites and scripts will run faster.
Advantage of higher I/O Limit:
  • More Read/Write data can be done onto the disk.
  • Very useful for hosting videos for download/streaming.
  • Make large scripts run faster.
  • Help with large database queries & operation.
  • Prevent hang or slow loading for large site or heavy load scripts.

What is IOPS?

Similar with I/O Speed, IOPS referred to Inputs Outputs Per Second. IOPS are concerned with determining how fast a hard drive can read data from and write data to a hard drive and can be used in both traditional physical ‘spinning’ hard drives as well as SSD Drives. For example, a 7.2k SATA drives will have about 80 IOPS. In term of Hosting server, even though they provide us with SSD drive hosting, but usually they will limit the IOPS per account to a certain value. The important thing is, the higher IOPS, the better, the faster.

What is Entry Processes Limit?

An “Entry Process” is how many PHP scripts you have running at a single time. Keep in mind an “Entry Process” only takes roughly a second to complete, therefore most people get it confused with how many visitors they can have on their website. A 30 limit Entry Process doesn’t mean only 30 people can be on your website at once because the likelihood of all the people hitting your website at the exact same second would likely never happen, unless you owned a very busy site like amazon.

Cron jobs, shell scripts and other commands also use one entry process for the duration of the time they are running.

If you planned to host multiple active websites in a single host, higher entry processes will definitely helps a lot.

Advantage of higher Entry Processes limit:

  • Helps cater more traffic for slower sites
  • Can run more scripts in one time.
  • Make site run faster especially for ecommerce site with so many php scripts running for database queries.
  • Prevent your site got suspended with sudden traffic spike.
  • A must for WordPress multisite build or multiple web application in one hosting account.

What is Number of Processes?

Regular Shared plans are limited to 25 simultaneous processes per cPanel. Most sites will work perfectly with a 25 concurrent processes limit. Processes open and close so quickly that they hardly ever overlap. These concurrent running processes includes SSH connections, IMAP, and other processes running under the user account.

This is the same as the entry processes, except that it includes all processes generated by the account/site rather than the specific page, SSH or cron jobs. If the number of process has been exceeded, this will show error 500 or error 503 when the the site is accessed.

It’s actually a big advantage if you have many concurrent users connected to the server at certain time, for example accessing email via IMAP, FTP, etc.


Hopefully the above information will give you some idea on how to pick the best Web Hosting for your next project. Don’t get cheated with the “Unlimited Storage & Bandwidth” promotion anymore since Speed beats Space nowadays. What’s the purpose of having unlimited space but your site is actually being limited in some other “hidden” way which you will only realized when the support team replied your tickets!

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