When researching and choosing a web host to host your domain, one factor to evaluate and compare is the cost of the amount of bandwidth required,
Yes, a lot of providers offer “Unlimited” Hosting Plans, but on closer inspection, you’ll find that the word unlimited isn’t really unlimited – there will always be penalties if you use too much, based on “normal” use, whatever that means. That said, knowing how much bandwidth your site requires can be considered an art form.
Web Hosting Bandwidth and Data Transfer
Essentially, bandwidth is a term for calculating the rate of traffic and data allowed to flow between users and your site over the Internet. The term “bandwidth” is often misused to describe “data transfer”, but in reality, these two things are two different things.
What is data transfer?
Data transfer is the total amount of data to be transferred in a given time, usually measured in months.
What is the bandwidth of the site?
Bandwidth is the measure of the maximum amount of data that can be transferred in a given time, usually measured in seconds.
The number in “data transfer” tells you how much data you can transfer per month. The number in “bandwidth” tells you how fast data can be transferred.
Imagine bandwidth as the width of a water pipe where the data transfer is the amount of water coming out of the pipe. How wide the pipe is (bandwidth) determines how quickly water can flow (data). Basically, data transfer is the consumption of bandwidth.
For site owners looking for a web host, the amount of bandwidth offered by a hosting company site can usually be a good indicator of that host’s capabilities: the more bandwidth, the better the speed; network; connectivity; and systems.
So what about unlimited bandwidth/data transfer?
As mentioned above, many hosting organizations offer cheap hosting plans that include “unlimited bandwidth”. For the buyer, that means they can run as much data and as much traffic to their site as they need without a cap. For the hosting provider, this means a way to give a flat cost to a buyer that will generally work.
As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Put simply, hosting companies simply cannot offer unlimited bandwidth – it’s too expensive to provide unbridled access to every customer. That said, most businesses fall somewhere within a “normal range” of bandwidth usage by default, and that range is what hosting providers use to build their “unlimited” packages. By “unlimited”, hosting providers can meet the needs of the majority of their customers. However, the bandwidth is absolutely capped at the price of the offer; the trick is knowing what it is.
By comparing the bandwidth actually required of your site with the bandwidth offered in this “unlimited” form, you can better determine the level of hosting you actually need and whether a particular provider will actually meet your needs.
How to calculate the bandwidth you need?
The formula used to calculate the required website bandwidth.
The formula used to calculate the bandwidth needed for the website is not that complicated!
Think of bandwidth like pants: you need the size you need. Buying a size doesn’t make a lot of sense, but at the same time, a number that fits. If your size is a 36, you just won’t fit into that 32. Simple math.
Here are the steps to calculate the bandwidth you need
In the case of bandwidth, redemption also makes no sense. This is why it makes sense to work with hosting providers that offer scalable solutions. As for small-size purchases, it will only give you trouble. Know if you really need to get the service that’s right for you. Here’s how to calculate your required bandwidth:
Estimate the average page size of your site in kilobytes (MB). *
Multiply this average page size (in KB) by the average monthly number of visitors.
Multiply the result of step 2 by the average number of page views per visitor.
If you don’t know, use Pingdom’s Load Times test on a few pages and take the average of those pages tested for your baseline test number. Here are some concrete examples:
Example # 1: YouTube.com homepage size = 2.0 MB.
This is the basis for knowing your required bandwidth – however, you are not done yet. You should also include an allowance for additional “space” in case your traffic increases. Generally speaking, I recommend giving at least a 50 percent spread. However, you need to allow extra space for growth and spikes in traffic – leave at least 50 tolerance.
Bandwidth + redundancy required on the website (no user download)
To perform this calculation, use the following formula:
Required bandwidth = Average number of page views x Average page size x Number of daily visitor’s x Number of days in a month (30) x Redundancy factor
Average daily visitors: total number of monthly visitors / 30.
Average Page Size: Average size of your web page.
The average number of page views: average number of page views per visitor.
Redundant Factor: A safety factor between 1.3 – 1.8.
Is the bandwidth important?
Calculating bandwidth is crucial when you are developing a consumer application or trying to reduce hosting costs.
HOWEVER, the number of data transfers/bandwidth shouldn’t be a big factor to consider when choosing a web host, especially if you are just starting out.
Bandwidth (data transfers), as well as storage space, is not a significant comparison factor for hosting buyers – especially if you are new to today’s market.
If you are looking for a web host, find out more about things that should interest you when choosing a web host.
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