Website Hosting Bandwidth: Why Is It Important?

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If you’re going through the processing of researching and choosing a new web hosting provider like Bluehost or A2 Hosting, one thing you will have to look for is the right amount of hosting bandwidth offered. Bandwidth usage varies significantly from web to website, so it’s important to know exactly how much website hosting bandwidth your users will actually need from your hosting provider.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything website owners need to know about what website hosting bandwidth is, how it works, and everything else you need to know about finding the right website hosting bandwidth plan for your unique needs. Let’s start by breaking down what bandwidth actually is in the context of a web hosting service.

What is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth, in the context of website hosting, is the overall amount of data that your specific website can transfer over to the users on your website in a specific amount of time. Usually, bandwidth can be added up and sold on a gigabyte basis, though some companies that provide web hosting will offer unlimited bandwidth for a certain flat rate.

It helps to think of bandwidth as the physical width of a straw. A very thick straw can pass a lot of liquid through it when compared to a thinner straw. This is simply because the wider straw has a higher capacity to pass the liquid through it. Likewise, having more bandwidth makes it possible to transfer more website data to your users. The result is a faster, more reliable website experience.

Why is Bandwidth Important?

Bandwidth, or rather the amount of it that you can access, will determine host fast your website can send content to your website users during times of intensive traffic. If the purpose of your website is to expand your target audience and boost your sales, having the right amount of bandwidth is a very important part of running your website.

A higher amount of bandwidth gives website owners the ability to create unique and responsive features for their website, which can be very appealing to website visitors.

What to Consider When Choosing a Bandwidth Plan

The only thing you’ll need to consider when choosing a bandwidth plan is exactly how much bandwidth you will need. You’ll need to know this before you can select the right website hosting bandwidth plan from a web host. While many web hosting providers offer unlimited hosting plans nowadays that may seem worth it, it’s worth noting that these plans aren’t actually unlimited. In fact, unlimited plans will also include pricey penalties in the event that your website experiences a big spike in traffic. As such, knowing how much bandwidth you actually need is very important, but it can be a bit of a tricky thing to figure out.

To start, it’s important to understand the difference between a data transfer and web hosting bandwidth, as the two are often used synonymously, which is incorrect. Data transfer is essentially the amount of data that is going to be transferred during a period of time, which is usually about a month. Bandwidth, on the other hand, is the total maximum amount of data that can be transferred in a specific amount of time, which is usually measured by seconds or minutes.

The number of your average data transfer will tell you exactly how much data you can transfer in a specific period of time. The bandwidth number, likewise, will tell you how quickly that data can be transferred. Data transfer could be described as the actual consumption of website hosting bandwidth.

When you start looking for a web hosting provider, the amount of bandwidth your chosen provider offers will indicate how capable their company is. Higher bandwidth is usually accompanied by better speed, networks, overall connectivity, etc.

That being said, be wary of cheap web hosting plans offered by companies that note “unlimited” bandwidth. As we mentioned earlier, such plans aren’t actually unlimited– they have very real limits that you could be penalized for going over in the event of a sharp increase in web traffic. It’s simply not really possible to offer unlimited bandwidth, as the price would be extremely expensive. These unlimited plans will have a “normal” range of bandwidth use which is determined on a provider-by-provider basis.

In order to figure out which plan is best for you, it’s vital to calculate your website’s actual bandwidth needs that you can compare among the best possible web hosting providers.

Calculating Bandwidth Requirements

Calculating bandwidth is actually quite simple. One might compare calculating bandwidth to purchasing a shirt. There’s no reason to buy a size up or down– you simply need the number that fits the best. If you wear a medium-sized shirt, size small simply will not fit. A size large will keep you covered, but all that extra space might be a waste. It’s the same with bandwidth.

It makes the most sense to opt for web hosting providers who offer growth-focused or scalable solutions in case your website becomes much more popular. This will make it easier to change plans when you “outgrow” your current bandwidth limit.

To know what your bandwidth needs are currently, follow these steps to calculate your bandwidth requirement:

  1. Estimate your page size average in kilobytes or megabytes.
  2. Times that number by your average. monthly visitor count.
  3. Times the number calculated in Step 2 by your average number of views per visitor.

After calculating this number, allocate some space to cover rare traffic spikes. We recommend a tolerance of 50%.

There are a few different tools out there that can do this calculation for you for free, but you can also easily calculate this yourself by finding the above-noted information via your website’s analytics dashboard.

For more information on website bandwidth for a certain web hosting company, check out our reviews of website hosting providers.