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Yahoo! launches! flat!-!-rate! web! hosting!

'Unlimited' bandwidth. Heavy on the ''

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Yahoo! web site hosting operations are getting a whole lot looser when it comes to counting gigabytes. The well-established small business web hosting arm of the second-banana search firm is moving to a flat-rate model.

Subscribers to the new service will pay $11.95 per month, and are welcome to take up as much disk space and bandwidth on Yahoo(!!)'s servers as they want.

Previously Yahoo(!!!) charged $12 for 5GB of disk space and 200GB of bandwidth per month; $20 for 10GB disk space and 400GB bandwidth per month; and $40 for 20GB disk space and 500GB bandwidth per month. According to our careful calculations, this new model is a better deal.

Bear in mind a dictionary definition of "unlimited" and Yahoo(!!!!)'s use of the term differs by a few hundred words. If your site puts a drag on the company's servers, even Oxford's latest edition won't save you from the kill switch.

But go ahead and upload that "Best of Dschinghis Khan" special up there with your company's finance sheets. Oh yeah, that's luxury. (It's also a luxury only available in the US from Yahoo's Small Business division. Sorry, entire rest of the world.)

The service comes with free domain registration, web site design tools, up to 1,000 email accounts and customer support. That's unchanged.

Yahoo(!!!!!) said its current 1.5 million SMB hosting customers in the US will receive instructions on how to migrate to the new service.

You know who else has a small business web hosting service? Microsoft. They offer hosting ranging from a free entry level with 500MB storage and 10GB bandwidth per month, up to $40 for 2GB storage and 20GB bandwidth per month. They've also placed a $44.6bn bid to buy Yahoo(!!!!!!), but hardly anyone has noticed. ®

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