In-Depth Analysis Of Bandwidth!

Most people are not sure if there is a difference between bandwidth and data transfer. The difference may be minor, but it speaks about two different things.  While bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred to or from the website or server within a given period of time; data transfer is the amount of data that is being transferred.

What it means is that the hosting company offers a certain amount of bandwidth depending on the chosen plan, and the data transfer is the consumption of that bandwidth.

The problem is that many hosting companies do not make it clear and a first-timer is left thinking that both are the same.

A higher bandwidth makes things easier for your users, as the site loads faster and is not dependent on their connection type. If the data transfer allowed is less, your site will be unavailable to users once you reach the maximum limit for that particular month, unless you upgrade your account to a plan offering higher bandwidth.

When hosting plans list bandwidth limitations, they mean to limit your data transfers.  Since bandwidth is a significant determinant of hosting plan prices, it is important to first figure out the right amount of bandwidth that is needed for your site.  This can be done by assessing your traffic.  If it is a new site, a realistic projection of future traffic is essential, based on what you have in mind for your site.

How do you figure out how much bandwidth you need?

It’s not easy to find the exact requirement of bandwidth but it can be figured out approximately based on your site.

Let us understand through an example:

If your website is 50 KB in size and you have 1 GB of bandwidth, your web page can be viewed 20,000 times approximately.  But if each visitor viewed 4 pages per month, then you get 5,000 unique visits to your website each month.  But, if you have images on your website, then a bandwidth of 1 GB will only be good enough for lesser number of visitors.

Web page visitors do not need too much bandwidth but audio and video downloads hog up the bandwidth.

For a website with a 1MB sized .PDF file, 1GB of bandwidth will yield about thousand downloads.  A 30-minute video of around 300 MB, will yield five downloads with a bandwidth of 1 GB.

Let’s calculate the bandwidth requirement for websites that do not offer any downloads:

Average number of daily visitors x Average page views x Average size of the page x 31 (days in a month)

For websites offering downloads:

(Average visitors daily x average page views x average size of page) + (average file downloads daily x average size of file) x 31

What this shows is that the bandwidth requirement is based on three important factors:

  • The website size
  • Visitors per month
  • Downloads per month

Personal and small business websites

Most personal and small business websites do not need more than 1GB of bandwidth every month. If your site only consists of static pages and you are expecting huge amounts of traffic daily, you can start with a plan offering low bandwidth. You don’t have to worry about crossing the allowed limit, as your hosting company will charge for the extra traffic. Based on that, you can always upgrade to a higher plan.

Managing with low bandwidth plans

If you don’t want to pay too much for plans with higher bandwidth, you can do your bit to reduce the transfers, by optimizing your graphics and constructing easy to load pages.  Flash presentations and streaming audio take up a lot of bandwidth, as far as possible, stay away from them.  You would also do well to use JavaScript and CSS instead of embedding.  Use Meta tags when they are needed.  Robots can also use up bandwidth immensely, and to prevent this from happening, you can use robots.txt.

Bandwidth has to be managed more efficiently to ensure your users do not get frustrated trying to access your site and give up. This is the key to success.

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