Server Bandwidth Explained

In your search for a hosting company, you will come upon the term Bandwidth. In basic terms most companies are referring to the number of data that you are allowed to transfer within a given period of time. The usual period is set at a month in most cases. If you try to define bandwidth by dictionary terms it is usually defined as the following:

Bandwidth: the capacity for data transfer of an electronic communications system; primarily the maximum data transfer rate of such a system.

If you browse the website of a hosting firm, you'll notice some state they allow 5 GB of Bandwidth per month for the particular hosting package you are interested in ordering. If you break that down in terms of megabytes, it will state that 5000 Megabytes of data can be transferred within a given month from your site. Usually if you go over the allocated amount of bandwidth, you are then charged an extra fee.

It is very important to note that bandwidth is used everytime someone visits your website. Each time an image loads that is actual bandwidth that is being used and is counted towards your allocated monthly amount of data transfer. It is important to always not only factor in the size of your page but the actual size of the images contained in your site as part of the data transfer. Each time someone visits your page, it's bandwidth being transferred to allow them to access your site.

When designing your site it is recommended to optimize the images to reduce their size so the amount of data being transfered is reduced. It is pretty simple to calculate the amount of bandwidth your home page will transfer for each time a person visit's your website. Below you will find an example:

Total size of homeage: 10 KB
Total number of images: 10
Combined size of images: 75 KB
Total number of visitors: 1

With that example above, for every one person that visits your site 85Kb of data is transferred from your homepage alone, this does not include when the person actually browses the rest of your site. If you do an extensive promotion of your site and receive approximately 500 visitors a day you can multiply the total of 85Kb x 500 = 42,500 KB of data per day or when changed to Megabytes = 42.5 MB. That is the total amount of data transferred from your homepage alone per day if you average 500 visitors daily. It is not as easy to figure the total amount if the person views other pages of your website as some will browse up to 5 more pages while others browse just one other page and leave.

This example was to give you an estimate or an idea of how the bandwidth operates and to help in your decision on which package to choose when searching for a hosting company. If you are starting a new site, it maybe wise to go with the smallest bandwidth package and as your site grows in traffic/data transfer then you can usually inform the host that you would like to upgrade to a higher bandwidth package. Beware of fees charged for going over your allocated limit, and always ask your host for any information or control panel feature that would allow you to monitor your bandwidth.

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