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Bandwidth - What Is It And Why Do I Need It?

Bandwidth photo

Bandwidth is the measurement of the amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given time. Most web hosts measure bandwidth by the month and set limits accordingly. You have to know how much bandwidth you need when choosing your web hosting plan.

The problem is that you can't really know the bandwidth or monthly transfer you need before your web site has been up and running for a while. So how do you choose a proper web hosting plan if you don't know your bandwidth requirement?

Irst off whenever you visit a site promoting "Unlimited Bandwidth" or massive amounts of bandwidth as one of the account features, be sure to visit the Acceptable Use Policy, or the Terms of Service. Read the fine text about the "Unlimited" disclaimer, you may be surprised! It's solely up to the web hosting company to decide whether you violate their policy.

Choose wisely.

You have two options when you first look for web hosting services.

First is to choose a web hosting plan that provides enough space and bandwidth for your future expansion at an affordable price. Second is to make your best estimation and watch your usage carefully in the first few months. Before signing up, make sure the web hosting company won't charge an exhorbitant price if you upgrade.

Take these factors into consideration when estimating.

How many users will access your web site?
How many pages will be accessed?
How big are the graphic and HTML files?

To estimate bandwidth usage multiply the size of an average HTML page, plus the combined size of images included in the page, by the number of pages in your web site. Multiply that number by the number of visitors you expect to have in a month.

Here is an example:
The HTML file of a page is 13k (average page). There are 7 images at the top, 8k total. Currently there are 50 pages in this site, but we expect to add in more content soon so lets make it 100. This site has 5,000 visitors per month. It's fairly safe to assume that only 10% of all the pages will actually be viewed by a visitor. (This depends on the nature of your site.)

So we multiply 21 (text + graphics on the page) x 100 (pages expected in the site) x 5000 (visitors each month) x 10% = 1.05GB.

Think of your own situation. If you're going to set up a forum, the page views may be far more than the number in our example. Large audio/video files, computer programs, and file downloads all require more bandwidth. Flash web sites use tons of bandwidth. Virtual Reality (VR) and full-length three-dimensional audio/visual presentations require the most bandwidth of all.

HostChart, a web hosting resource site says this about their own site.

So as you can see the the necessity of having 20GB of bandwidth on a site that is not getting thousands of visitors is really poor stewardship.

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