Get an Estimate: How Much Hosting Bandwidth Do You Need?

hosting bandwidth

Hosting bandwidth is one of the important factors to consider when comparing web hosting plans. So how much bandwidth do you need for your site? Well, if you devote more time and estimation to it, you can actually find out how to keep your bandwidth and budget in line. Read this article on for some tips on how to do a practical estimate for your website’s bandwidth.

With the prevalence of the Internet, anyone can virtually publish their own website. It’s in the choosing the right web hosting plan that remains to be a challenge for some people, especially for those who are new to the hosting process. There are various aspects you need to consider, among them is the hosting bandwidth.


Bandwidth and Data Transfer: Are They the Same?

Bandwidth and data transfer are two terms that get tossed around interchangeably especially when discussing web hosting features. While both may seem similar on the surface, in reality they mean different things.

Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred through a website in a given time, usually measured per second. It is used to quantify the amount of traffic and data allowed to transmit between your website and visitors through the Internet.

On the other hand, data transfer refers to the actual amount of data transferred between two computers or the traffic generated. So, bandwidth is the rate of data transfer for a given device or computer.

To illustrate, imagine bandwidth and data transfer in terms of highways or expressways. Bandwidth is the amount of vehicles that can possibly cross the expressway from one end to another at a given time. Data transfer would then be the actual number of vehicles that finished the journey.

So a massive expressway with multiple lanes can accommodate more vehicles to travel on it in less amount of time. In the same way, a high performing data pipe or Internet connection will allow more bandwidth consumption.

And, if there is a huge influx of of vehicles on the highway, naturally the vehicle speed will be decreased. The bandwidth will be reduced once there is an increase in the data transfer.

For website owners, the amount of bandwidth a web hosting provider can offer is one of the  good signs of their capabilities as a web host. This means that the higher bandwidth offered, the better the network speed and performance you can expect.


How to Estimate Your Hosting Bandwidth

If you’re just about to launch a website, estimating how much bandwidth you need can take a lot of guesswork. The best thing to do is to evaluate your website’s activity in the first few months after launching it. From there, you can figure out your actual monthly bandwidth usage and modify your plan appropriately.

For established websites, you can follow this guide when estimating your hosting bandwidth:

  1. Get the average page size of your website (in kilobytes). Test some of your website pages on  Pingdom Website Speed Test.
  2. Then multiply the result with the monthly average number of visitors from your Google Analytics account (or any website analytics software you’re using).
  3. Multiply value from no. 2 with the average number of pageviews per visitor.  

Your estimate should include every websites hosted on the same server. If your hosting account runs multiple domains, then make sure to consolidate the page sizes, average number of visitors and pageviews per visitor on all domains.

This straightforward calculation should give you a rough estimate on how much hosting bandwidth your website may consume. Since this only applies to your present usage, it might not give you the whole picture of your actual usage.

You don’t want to always upgrade your plan every time your data consumption changes, so you need to consider other technical challenges and room for growth in the future.


Room for Growth

In reality, most websites don’t use that much hosting bandwidth. If your site does not host resource-intensive media like video streaming and HD photos, then chances are, you can survive with even less than 10 GB each month.

It’s those websites that normally attract huge amount of traffic on a daily basis that will need hosting plan with higher bandwidth limit. Examples of these high-traffic sites are Facebook and Google.

These are some of the factors that will impact your bandwidth consumption:

  • Traffic Growth –  Your website will grow as more people visit your site; Unplanned traffic spikes may increase bandwidth usage per month.
  • Website Design Changes – Changing your site’s design might inflate the page size, thus, using up more bandwidth.
  • Web Page Addition – adding more web pages will mean an increase in pageviews as well.


Should You Go for Unlimited Bandwidth?

Many web hosting providers offer unlimited bandwidth with their hosting plan. To the uninitiated, it might mean that they can have as much data transfer and traffic as they can without any limit. But to a hosting provider, this is their way of offering a flat rate to their clients.

The truth is, it is impossible for a web host to offer unlimited bandwidth for a flat rate. Servers cost money. The more bandwidth is consumed, the more it will cost the web host.

Since most websites are in the normal range of bandwidth usage, this assumption is used by web hosting providers to market their unlimited hosting plans. When they say “unlimited”, it means they can distribute the bandwidth proportionately for all their clients. However, reality dictates that there will always be a limit to a web hosting plan.

By examining your website’s actual bandwidth consumption against the unlimited bandwidth plan offered, you can then assess which type of hosting you really need and if that web host can really provide what your website requires.


Choosing the Right Web Hosting Plan for your Needs

Once you have an estimate on how much bandwidth you require, you can use that as a basis when choosing your next web hosting provider. Take time to check their bandwidth allocation for each type of hosting plan.

If you’re thinking of having an unlimited hosting plan, you need to research further the maximum bandwidth allowed for that plan. Keep in mind that there are hosting providers that will not reveal the exact limit upfront so you will need to probe further. If a web host is not transparent with these important details, this could be red flag for more underlying problems in the future.