Beginner’s Guide: All About Bandwidth
You might have heard of the term bandwidth but do not really comprehend what it is and how it works.
Every business today needs a website to sustain in the competitive market and to ensure that customers can access their services 24/7. With hosting companies offering a range of options, it is essential for businesses to understand the nuances of the services offered.
There are several factors from the hosting to the bandwidth available that may impact the performance of the website. One such crucial factor is bandwidth provided by your hosting service provider. In this era of technology, people want everything fast.
If you are the owner of the website, you wouldn’t want to keep your audience waiting due to your crawling connection. Also consider the possibility that your website may be visited by many visitors at the same time. So, you need to have a faster speed.
Here we’re going to look at bandwidth – what it is and how you can calculate the requirements for your website. So what exactly is bandwidth? How does it affect you and your website? How does it relate to web hosting? Here are the key elements explained.
What Is Bandwidth In Hosting And Why Is It Important?
Bandwidth refers to the rate at which data is allowed to flow between your website and your visitors. Among several important parameters influencing the performance of the website, such as speed, storage space, etc., bandwidth is the most difficult to understand. Web hosting bandwidth can be defined as the rate at which data can be transferred between your website, users, and the internet, in a given amount of time.
Bandwidth can also be compared to a water pipe. The water flowing through the pipe is the data that is being transferred, while the width of the pipe is the bandwidth that determines the amount of data that can be transferred.
Higher bandwidth will ensure that a greater number of visitors will be able to use your website at the optimum speed and completely enjoy the experience that you have created for them.
In other words, the bigger your bandwidth, the faster the loading times for your clients.
So, Bandwidth is not to be confused with data transfer. Data transfer refers to the amount of data that can be transferred, while bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred within a specific time frame. The size of the bandwidth determines the maximum amount of data – over a period of time – that can be transmitted from one point to another. This shouldn’t be confused with data transfer – which is the total amount of data that is transferred within a given time (which is usually measured in a month).
What Is The Bandwidth Usage?
The website bandwidth usage will depend on a number of factors, including the media files on your website, web design, and the code of the website.
The number of visitors and the pages visited by each user also plays an important part here. So, if all your users exit the website after checking only one page, the bandwidth usage will be less compared with an instance when users load multiple or even all the pages on the website.
The same situation applies to a network. With too many users performing high-data activities, like downloading files or watching videos, the network speed will drop behind. I’m sure you’ve attempted to use the Internet in a public space before, maybe in a coffee shop or library. You will notice that the connection is slower during peak usage time. That’s because too many users are trying to get online.
How Much Bandwidth Does Your Website need?
It is vital for you to purchase bandwidth that suits you best. If you purchase a plan with lower bandwidth, your users will have a negative experience.
Websites that have very large pictures, or rely on transferring large files, or expect to receive thousands of visitors every month will need a large bandwidth allocation.
How To Calculate The Bandwidth That You Need?
If you’re just launching your website and don’t have many visitors yet, you don’t need to calculate your bandwidth requirements. Until your audience grows, a basic hosting plan will be enough for you.
On the other hand, it is impossible to determine the exact bandwidth that your business will need each month, you can derive an estimate based on historical data.
How you can calculate your estimate bandwidth requirements in three simple steps:
1- Average Page Size – Calculate the average web page size on your site.
2- Average Number of Visitors per Month – Check how many monthly visitors your website gets.
3- Average Page Views per Visitor – Check the average number of page views per visitor.
When you have all three numbers, simply multiply them, like this:
Bandwidth = Average Page Size * Average Monthly Visitors * Average Pages Viewed Per Visitor
For example; Your website gets 10000 visitors per month, with each visitor viewing about 2 pages. Let’s assume the size of each page is approximately 1 MB.
This results in your per month bandwidth being: 1MB * 10000 * 2 = 20000MB (20 GB).
So, by estimating your bandwidth usage in this way, you can predict your future bandwidth requirements. This is one of the basic methods that will give you a rough estimate of the bandwidth you might need.
While traditional hosting options may not be easily scalable, you can opt for Cloud Hosting to deal with such unexpected eventualities. With Cloud Hosting, you can easily scale your web hosting bandwidth with a click of a button. It does not require any additional physical hardware or any complicated setups, one click and your new users will experience the website the way it was meant to be.
What Does It Mean Unlimited Bandwidth?
Many web hosting providers advertise unlimited bandwidth plans. This wording implies that you can transfer as much data as you need.
The truth is, it is impossible for hosting companies to offer truly unlimited bandwidth. The costs and technological requirements would be too high to do so.
Types Of Bandwidth Offered
Web Hosting providers offer two types of bandwidths with their hosting plans:
1- Metered Bandwidth.
2- Unmetered Bandwidth.
There is a pre-specified limit to the bandwidth offered, and overages are charged. Once you buy a plan with Metered Bandwidth, you get a bandwidth limit, for example, 1TB. It means you cannot exceed that limit by a single byte. However some hosting companies allow you to exceed this limit. In this case the hosting company will charge you for the overages.
It means that your hosting provider does not measure the bandwidth used by you. You pay the cost of the hosting plan and use as much bandwidth as you need. However, in theory, plans like this allow you to use as much bandwidth as you want, there’s definitely an upper limit.
Most hosting providers offer unmetered bandwidth in all their packages, so, it’s likely that you won’t have to choose between metered and unmetered bandwidth.
Hosting service providers offer a range of plans from 1GB bandwidth to unlimited bandwidth. Every website has specific bandwidth requirements. If you have a new website, you may track your usage over a month before the site goes live to get an idea. Basically, you can analyse your website requirements using Google Analytics dashboard.
You should purchase a hosting plan that offers at least 50% more bandwidth than you currently need. This will give you room to add more content to your website and handle more traffic spikes when your site suddenly gets popular.
An E-Commerce website with dynamic traffic will require high bandwidth as compared to a static blog. A medium-sized eCommerce website with a 100kb page, close to 1000 daily visitors will need a bandwidth of at least 9GB per month.
Now consider a good blog for an average page size of 50KB, 20,000 visitors per month, and 5 pages per visitor your website will need about 5000MB, or 5GB, of bandwidth per month. Note that 20,000 visitors per month equates to approximately 667 visitors per day. This is a number even most large websites cannot achieve. On the other hand, a small and static blog can run efficiently with even 1GB bandwidth per month.
We hope this guide has helped you learn what web hosting bandwidth is and given you some insights into your website’s bandwidth usage.