When you’re planning to invest in web hosting, you must first assess your business requirements. You need to ensure the product offered by a hosting provider fulfils the needs of your business and settle on a price that fits your budget. The most important thing while assessing the requirements is to get the right amount of bandwidth for your website.
Here we’re going to look at bandwidth – what it is and how you can calculate the requirements for your website.
What is Bandwidth in Hosting?
Many hosting companies offer bandwidth in their packages at a certain cost. To judge the efficiency of the bandwidth, you have to first understand the need and concept. Bandwidth is the capacity of data that can be transferred between the site, its users and the servers. It is the capacity of the connection between the website user and the server. Bandwidths are either expressed in MB/s (Megabytes per Second) or GB/s (Gigabytes per Second). Normally, bandwidth is calculated in monthly hosting packages. So, for instance, a provider may offer 1GB bandwidth every month or 5GB bandwidth for each month. Think of bandwidth as a road you’re driving on – you could go on a nice, wide highway or choose a narrower road. The capacity of a wider road to handle traffic is higher than a narrow one. Therefore, the wider the road, the faster you move. Thus, you can consider bandwidth to be a capacity (not speed). The higher (wider) the bandwidth, the better will be the data-carrying capacity, thereby improving the volume of data that is carried. Thus, it is not about the speed, but the data carrying capacity.
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 Website Bandwidth?
Website bandwidth refers to the measure of maximum data that can be transferred in a specified time, usually in seconds. That’s why your bandwidth is often expressed as Megabytes or Gigabytes “per second.” The higher the MBPS, the more data is sent and received at the same time. To use another metaphor, if bandwidth is the size of a water pipe, then the data transfer is the amount of water flowing through the pipe. How wide the pipe is, determines how fast the water flows. If you employ higher bandwidth, more data (volume) will be carried. Thus, as mentioned above, bandwidth is simply the data carrying capacity, i.e. the maximum data that can be carried at any given point of time.
When you are considering your website bandwidth, you need to keep both your website and visitors in mind. The more visitors you have on your website, the slower their interaction will be with your server if you do not choose the right amount of bandwidth.
That’s why it becomes vital to calculate just how much bandwidth you need when choosing a hosting package. If your website is designed with a limited number of scripts or doesn’t have too many videos, images and downloads, then you can opt for less bandwidth. As the size and services of your website increase, so does the bandwidth. If you don’t have the right amount of bandwidth in your hosting plan, many of your customers or visitors won’t be able to access your website – causing you to lose out on valuable traffic.
How Can You Calculate Your Bandwidth Needs?
For beginners, who don’t have too many visitors as of yet, calculating bandwidth needs is unnecessary. Until your customer base or audience grows, your needs are met by most basic hosting plans. However, if you’ve reached the limit on your current hosting plan and are looking to upgrade or migrate to a new hosting provider, it becomes important to calculate your bandwidth needs. Here are some parameters you must consider before you make your decision:
- Monthly visitors: Check how many monthly visitors your website receives. You should be able to find that information on Google Analytics or WordPress easily.
- Page views: How many pages do the average visitor open when they visit your website?
- Webpage size: You can use a tool online like GTMetrix or Pingdom to determine what the size of your website’s web pages are. Check as many pages as you can, so that your estimation is as accurate as possible.
So, how to check website bandwidth usage will boil down to a simple equation – multiply your monthly visitors with the average page views and the average web page size.
Monthly visitors x average pageviews x average web page size = your bandwidth needs.
Ideally, you should choose a hosting plan that offers (at least 50%) more bandwidth than you currently need. This gives you a lot more breathing room to add content to your website and the ability to handle surges in traffic as your audience grows or you run seasonal events/promotions.
How to Check Bandwidth Usage of a Website?
Many hosting providers include a section where you can view the amount of bandwidth you used over a period of time. So, if your hosting package has a capped amount of bandwidth, you can use the information to make sure you don’t exceed your bandwidth limits. For instance, if you’re using cPanel (a web hosting control panel), you can find your bandwidth information on the dashboard, on the left under “monthly bandwidth transfer.”
So, keeping all of this in mind, how will you decide what website bandwidth is appropriate for you? At HostGator, we offer what is known as “unmetered bandwidth” in our hosting plans. This essentially means that you’re choosing a package that allows for unmetered traffic. The cost of the plan is not dependent on the amount of data used monthly. With unmetered bandwidth, you have a cost-effective solution to handle heavy spikes in traffic. It can handle your need for scalability and upgrade as your website draws a bigger audience.
Websites that do operate on metered bandwidth end up paying hefty fees when their traffic exceeds the bandwidth limits. When traffic spikes during peak hours or specific days, unmetered bandwidth levels out the data usage to stay within limits, without cutting off resources or charging higher fees for traffic spikes. Check out our hosting packages – VPS Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Shared Hosting, for more information.
To know more about the other web hosting categories and to choose the right option for your business, visit our Hosting Blogs Category.