When a website owner searches for a suitable web hosting platform, the most important aspect before him/her is the amount of bandwidth required for the website. One can choose an appropriate web hosting platform once the bandwidth requirement of the website is known. It is true that many web hosting packages offer unlimited bandwidth but you must be careful while opting for a plan with unlimited bandwidth. Every hosting company has their own definition of ‘unlimited’, therefore, it is important to go through the TOS of the web hosting company before you sign up for any hosting package with unlimited bandwidth.
Before we get on to the topic how much bandwidth is really needed for your website, let’s first understand what bandwidth really is?
Bandwidth is the term that is used for quantifying the rate of data and traffic that is allowed to be transmitted between the users and your website through the internet.
Roughly, the term ‘bandwidth’ is used for describing ‘data transfer’; but in reality, these are two different terms.
Bandwidth signifies the maximum amount of data that can be transferred in a given period of time; this data is usually measured in seconds. On the other hand, data transfer is the amount of data to be transferred and bandwidth is the rate of data transferred in a given time.
We can take the example of a water pipe where bandwidth is the width of the water pipe and data transfer is the measure of water that flows through the pipe. The width of the pipe (bandwidth) determines how fast the water (data) can flow.
For the website owners, it is preferable to opt for a web hosting plan with a higher bandwidth as it means better speed, better network, and better connectivity.
How bandwidth affects your website?
The less bandwidth you have, the more time it takes for your website to load completely irrespective of the type of connection used by the visitors. Visitors will have to wait till your website loads if your website is not supported with sufficient bandwidth. With insufficient bandwidth, your website might become unavailable to the visitors as you have reached the maximum limit of data allowed to be transmitted.
What is the difference between bandwidth and traffic?
Bandwidth and your website traffic are like the highway and the cars; bandwidth can be termed as the number of lanes in the highway and traffic can be termed as the number of cars on the highway. Website traffic signifies the number of bits transferred on the network connections and bandwidth is the number of bits transferred on network connections in a given period of time.
Let’s consider a simple example : If your website has 100 MB bandwidth and you are hosting a 40 MB video on your website that is available for download. Every video download will create 40 MB traffic between the web server and the local computer. Similarly, two video downloads will result in 80 MB traffic and three downloads will result in 120 MB traffic. If these downloads take place at different time intervals, it is fine; but if all the downloads occur at the same time, all the bandwidth will be used. In this case, someone will have to wait for the video to be downloaded as video downloads will be slower when the bandwidth is used up.
How to calculate the bandwidth needed for your website?
It is important to opt for a hosting plan that offers sufficient bandwidth and opt for hosting providers who offer scalable hosting solutions. It is important to know the real bandwidth needed for your website in order to sign up for a service that is best for you.
Here’s how you can calculate the bandwidth required by your website…
- Determine the average page size of your website in kilobytes (KB)
- Multiply the average page size in (KB) by the monthly average number of visitors to your website
- Multiply the result obtained from step 2 by the average number of page views per visitor
Note : In order to calculate the average page size of your website in KB, you can utilize the Pingdom Website Speed Test Tool for a few of your website pages and take the average of the tested pages as your base testing number.
Leave some room to grow
The formula mentioned above is just the baseline for knowing the real bandwidth required for your website. While calculating bandwidth it is also important to include some extra space in case there is a spike in your website traffic. Preferably, you must have at least 50% extra space for the traffic spikes. If your website does not include big media files or if a lot of online streaming is not involved, then a hosting package with 10 GB bandwidth per month is going to be sufficient for you. In contrast, if you have users streaming online videos, downloading or uploading files on your website, you need more bandwidth to keep your website going.
The factors mentioned below have an effect on the bandwidth consumed by your website:
Website layout changes : If you change your website’s layout and appearance, it might result in an increase in the size of your website pages and thus more bandwidth will be required.
Traffic growth : If the traffic to your website is growing, you need more bandwidth to carry out the website functions without making the website slow or without causing any downtime.
The exact estimate of bandwidth required by your website depends on a variety of factors. You must consider various factors like traffic spikes, downloads from your website, online shopping transactions, etc. while calculating the bandwidth for your website. It is important to have an idea about the future development of the website before buying any web hosting package. If you have a plan about what you are going to do with your website, you will have a better understanding of the amount of bandwidth required for your website.