What is bandwidth, Why is it important, How much do I need?

bandwidth

Do you offer downloadable files from your website?
Do you receive or expect sudden surges in Web traffic?
Is your website traffic growing rapidly?
How do you know how much bandwidth your website needs?

Answering these questions will give you a better idea what bandwidth is and why it is important.

What is bandwidth?

This is the amount of data that can be transmitted (bits/second) over a channel. it’s often referred to as “data transfer rate”. Another way to explain it is the amount of traffic allowed between your website and the Internet.

Why is bandwidth important?

As your website receives more traffic it will need more bandwidth. This can be compared to a highway. As more cars drive on it it becomes more congested. To alleviate the congestion a wider highway needs to be built. The same applies to bandwidth. Most website owners use a shared web hosting service. This means many websites share the same server. Your Web hosting company allocates a certain amount of bandwidth to the server then creates web hosting plans according to the space and bandwidth on the server. If you exceed the bandwidth within your hosting plan you will be asked purchase more.

What affects bandwidth use?

Downloadable files
If many people download files from a website at same time it will consume large amounts of bandwidth. For example if 1000 people download a video from your website simultaneously it will probably overload your bandwidth capacity and shut down your website.

Traffic surge
if your website experiences a sudden surge in traffic it may overload your bandwidth limit. Visitors to your website may see the message “bandwidth exceeded.” if you’re running a marketing campaign and this happens you may lose a lot of sales. Check that you can easily upgrade your web hosting plan should you need more bandwidth to accommodate the increase in traffic.

Shared web hosting
Sometimes the bandwidth of the server you’re sharing with other websites may exceed its total bandwidth. This may cause websites on the server to begin experiencing errors. Before choosing a web hosting provider ask what will happen if your website exceeds its bandwidth limit.

How much bandwidth do I need to host my website?

If you have a static site (no database) containing a few web pages you’ll only need a small amount of bandwidth. 500 MB/month should be sufficient. If you have a large database driven website containing hundreds of files (e.g. image files, video, flash, audio) you’ll need much more bandwidth. 5 GB of bandwidth per month should be sufficient to start off with. Check with your web host you can easily expand bandwidth capacity should you need it.

Tip
if you’re planning a large marketing campaign for your website and expect a large increase in traffic it may be wise to increase your bandwidth ahead of your campaign to prevent it from overloading. This will ensure your site will always be available to your visitors.

Related articles
How to Choose a Hosting Company That’s Reliable
What are the Steps to Host a Website

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Comments

  1. these are the types of things that i like to see posted up. thanks. I wanted to let you know about some killer traffic video courses i have. just swing by and take advantage of my save the family vacation firesale. right now.

  2. 500mb is plenty of bandwith. Most new websites can start with much less.

  3. This is really useful article for me.
    And for every beginner.
    Thank you for the information.
    I’m looking for new host for my new blog!

  4. Harley,

    You can check out my web hosting plans at:
    http://www.isitebuild.com/hostingplans.htm
    Let me know how much space and bandwidth you need.

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