What is bandwidth?
Sometimes referred to as ‘data transfer’ – bandwidth, in web hosting terms, is simply how much data your website sends to visitors. When it comes to choosing a web host, there are many baffling bandwidth options to consider. These range from as little as 250mb per month, through to ‘unlimited’ bandwidth. We face the same decision when buying broadband or mobile phone contacts. The problem is, you want plenty of room to grow but don’t want to pay for a huge amount of bandwidth that you won’t use.
A number of providers offer packages with unlimited or unmetered bandwidth, and these can be very tempting. However, there must be some limit, somewhere. In some cases, this will be an ambiguous ‘fair usage policy’. Additionally, this could be made possible through lowering the transfer rate to your website. Unlimited use of 10MBits of internet connectivity, for instance, could be feasible. Unlimited use of 1GBit, less so. Web hosts, broadband providers and even some mobile providers are able to offer unlimited packages because the majority of customers won’t consume anything near what their reasonable limit is – and they put in place protection just in case.
Speed impact of bandwidth limits
By not having a transfer limit, in many cases, you can expect a speed limit for your site. This is somewhat of a compromise – the faster your website loads the better your search engine placing will be and the more likely customers will be to stay on your website. According to Akamai, 49% of users expect a website to load in under 2 seconds and 22% will never return to the slow site.
So, how much bandwidth do I need?
Stats are always interesting. Here are a few of ours:
- 95% of our hosted websites use less than 100GB per month
- <1% use more than 500GB per month
- Our speed test server uses around 1.2TB per day
- Our CentOS mirror uses around 200GB per day
- Every website we host has access to 1GBit of internet connectivity
You can calculate, roughly, your data transfer needs by using a handy tool. The Pingdom Website Speed Test.
Just enter your domain and it’ll give you lots of information about your website – including the one we need here – the Page size.
So we see here that our homepage is using 1MB of data. We can then look at our website stats and get an idea of how many pages users tend to look at, and how many users we get each month. Then we simply multiply these together to get a total.
Page size x Number of pages x Number of visitors = Approx bandwidth usage
Let’s assume 5 pages and a very optimistic 5,000 visitors. 1x5x5000 = 25,000MB or 25GB.
On this basis, we could actually have 200,000 visitors per month within our 1TB account limit. Obviously, your site may be larger or smaller but it gives you an idea. Unlimited is starting to look a little unnecessary.
Bandwidth at NetWeaver
Our hosting comes with 1TB (1,000GB) of bandwidth as standard. Your website can access a full 1GBit of internet speed and you know exactly what you’re getting. We think this is the most honest approach.