How Much Bandwidth do you Really Need?

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In this post, we’ll talk about definition of bandwidth, and how to calculate the right amount of bandwidth for your website. These days, creating a website is not rocket science, but choosing the right Web hosting provider, or more importantly, a suitable web hosting package for your website, can be quite a challenging task, especially for someone new to the process. There are many factors that need to be accounted for, and one of the most important factors is bandwidth.

The definition of bandwidth is quite simple – Bandwidth is a volume of data or information, which is transferred per unit of time. This might sound pretty geeky, so I’ll explain this in more detail with a real life example:

Let’s assume that your home page is the first page served to your visitor, has a file size of 100 KBytes, where 25 KBytes for the actual HTML page and 75 KBytes for images included on that page (ie. backgrounds, buttons, logo, photos and others). Now let’s assume that your site gets 10,000 visitors per month, and the average visitor views 3 pages of your site, also 100 KBytes each.

Based on those numbers, your website would serve:
100 KBytes x 3 Pages x 10,000 visitors = 3,000,000 KBytes or 3,000 MBytes or 3 GBytes of data transfer per month.

Assuming all this traffic was evenly distributed, then the hosting server your website is located on, would be distributing 3 GBytes per month, or about 12 KBytes per second.

Now, when we know how to calculate the actual bandwidth, it’s also good idea to add a redundancy factor to make sure website won’t go over the limits, if you got more traffic than anticipated.

 

Bandwidth needed = Average Page Views × Average Page Size × Average Daily Visitors × Number of days in a month (30) × Redundant Factor

  • Average Page Views: The average page viewed per visitors
  • Average Page Size: The average size of your web page.
  • Average Daily Visitors: The total number of monthly visitors/30
  • Redundant Factor: A safety factor ranging from 1.5 – 2

 

At some point you can ask yourself – how many pages does your website consist of? This is especially important for dynamically driven websites based on content management and other modern web technologies. They allow you have a virtually unlimited amount of content. The bottom line is that you may have a few pages, but they could be filled with bandwidth, chewing graphics or large audio or video files.

Once you have your bandwidth figures, you can then decide which plan you should sign up for. It’s recommended that you don’t pick a cheap web hosting package, because you can’t afford to compromise the performance of your website for few bucks.

If you happen to come across a hosting company that offers “Unlimited Bandwidth” as one of its services, I strongly recommended to take a good look at its “Terms of Service” or “Acceptable Use Policy” section.