Bandwidth in terms of web hosting means the size of data that you can download from a website in a given period.

It’s an important factor that people often overlook when they choose their web hosting.

Knowing how much bandwidth you need is very important because the last thing you want is to exceed your bandwidth limit which can cause a lot of problems.

Luckily in this tutorial, we will see everything there is to know about bandwidth and how you can calculate the amount of bandwidth you need for your site.

 

What is website bandwidth?

Website Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of files you can download from a web page usually per month.

For example, every time someone visits your homepage, to view the page, the server loads several files such as Images, Gifs, Videos, HTML, CSS, JS, etc. Each one of these files weights a few Kilobytes or more. Let’s say all the page’s files combined have a total size of 10KB.

So, if the same page is viewed and loaded by 10 visitors that means you’ll have used up 100KB of your bandwidth. Let’s say that’s the total number of visitors you get daily, you take your daily bandwidth of 100KB and we multiply it by 30 days and we get 3000KB of bandwidth per month.

Keep into consideration that you have more than one page on your site, so that means, you will most likely consume a lot more bandwidth. So you get the idea!

 

What is Unlimited Bandwidth / Data transfer?

Every hosting provider has a certain quota for their bandwidth, but web hosts such as A2Hosting and Bluehost offer unlimited bandwidth.

To be real, no resource available is unlimited, everything has its limit. So even if they claim to offer unlimited bandwidth, there is a certain limit that they are not disclosing, and you can be sure the moment you exceed that limit they will make sure to let you know.

Knowing that you can be sure that unlimited bandwidth hosts offer a lot more bandwidth than its competitors, so you might want to keep that in mind.

 

How do I know how much bandwidth my website uses?

If you have already a website with Bluehost it is quite easy to know how much bandwidth your website uses.

Go to your Bluehost control panel and scroll down to the “Statistics” section. Inside it click on “Bandwidth”.

bandwidth bluehost cPanelIf your site has been active and receiving some traffic, you should be able to get similar statistics.
bandwidth website bluehost

NOTE: Most of the hosting providers have control panels with similar representations for the bandwidth usage.

 

 

How much bandwidth do I need for my website?

2GB bandwidth can be sufficient for websites like private blogs with light informational content. Every site has different needs when it comes to bandwidth, so it depends on your web page sizes and the amount of traffic it gets monthly.

If you are planning to have a website that will offer your guests to play or download videos, music records, or a possibility to download multiple files from your site, this will likely require you to have a much higher bandwidth than 2GB.

While you should also keep in mind that your site will continue to grow, more pages will be added and hopefully, your traffic will keep on increasing. So taking that into factor, helps make a better and clear decision for the long term.

So to know how much bandwidth we need, we must know before how much bandwidth we’re currently using, which will see next.

 

How to calculate website bandwidth usage?

Knowing the actual need in bandwidth for your site is very important, here is how to calculate it:

  1. Estimate the average page size of your website in Kilobytes (KB).
  2. Multiply the average page size by the average number of monthly visitors on your site.
  3. Multiply the result from above by the average number of your page views per visitor.

You can use Pingdom to get the size of your page. Repeat the process with a couple of other pages and use the average page size of the tested pages, and you can use that for your estimation calculation on step1.

pingdom speed test webhostingadvices
Page size of one of our articles

Remember to plan for the future, leave some room for your website to grow. That means you should have an extra 50% bandwidth in case you start experiencing a sudden growth in your website traffic.

The last thing you want is for your website to be shut down by your hosting provider just because you exceeded its bandwidth limit, which can harm your online business.

So, to have peace of mind, get an extra 50% bandwidth added the result of your earlier calculation.

To help you foresee these events in advance and better prepare for the future, here is why your site can grow over time and it can be for any of the following reasons:

  • Content Growth: As you add more pages, and media files, the more content there will be to use your bandwidth.
  • Traffic Growth: If you are consistently adding valuable content combined with great SEO skills, you’ll inevitably experience an increase in your website traffic.
  • Traffic Spikes: It’s not often that it happens, but there are some cases where you may experience some sudden increase in traffic because of bots crawling websites (programmed by hackers) or if you are running a news site it is most likely that it’s because of a viral news article.
  • Pages Changes: If you edit your website’s layout by adding new elements, more plugins (which means more files loaded), or you update your content by adding new elements to it, all of this will probably increase the size of your pages.

 

NOTE: Never host a video on your hosting. Always use YouTube as an embedded video player, that way you are using YouTube’s bandwidth and not your server’s.

 

What happens if I exceed my bandwidth?

If you exceed your website bandwidth, one of the following can happen to you:

  • You receive warning messages from your host asking you to reduce your bandwidth or further actions will be taken.
  • Your hosting provider is likely to suspend your website or your entire account, this often happens after receiving a couple of warnings first.
  • In some cases, some hosting companies can charge you extra fees for the exceeded bandwidth.
  • You might find yourself stuck and have no other choice but to upgrade your hosting plan to increase your bandwidth monthly limit.

 

NOTE: It is advisable to always read carefully the terms of service agreement.

 

If you see yourself that you are about to go over your monthly bandwidth limit, it’s better to contact your host to let them know about the situation so they can help you upgrade your account.

Doing so will help you solve the problem quickly and avoid any technical difficulties.

 

How can I reduce my bandwidth usage?

We thought it can be helpful that we provide you with a list of actions that can be useful for you to reduce the usage of your website bandwidth, here are a few ways to do so:

  • Use a CDN, this will serve a cached version to the visitor instead of the origin server.
  • Favor using JPEG or WEBP format for images.
  • Clean your pages from any unnecessary lines of text, such as (tags, comments, white space).
  • Compress the size of your images by optimizing their dimensions and quality.
  • Use all your CSS and JavaScript files externally (you should know that this method will add more loading time to your site, but that remains to be tested).
  • Create simple and efficient pages and remove any unnecessary elements like images or text.
  • Avoid including media files such as Videos or Audio files, they can consume a huge amount of bandwidth. Just watching a single video hosted on your site can use up the bandwidth of several days or even weeks depending on the duration and quality of the video.
  • Use a web host with high bandwidth quota or so claimed unlimited bandwidth.

 

Conclusion

Each website demands a certain amount of bandwidth. So make sure you know how much your site needs. We trust that you will make the right decision on choosing the right hosting plan for your site.