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Control Your Website’s Data Flow With the Proper Amount of Hosting Bandwidth
By Tim Brown
Like website speed and storage, hosting bandwidth is one of those terms whose definition could be somewhat elusive to many rookies who are working on their first website. The bandwidth analogy that might be the easiest to understand is that of water flowing through a pipe. Only so much water can make it through at a time. If you need more water, you’ll need a bigger pipe. For your website, data is the water and bandwidth is the pipe.
Armed with that information, you’re probably asking yourself, “How much bandwidth do I need for my website?” Unfortunately, the answer to your question is the ever unpopular, “It depends.” A look at the relationship between bandwidth, website size, and your visitors’ experience may help provide a better answer. You’ll also learn some tips on how to adjust the size of your site and what factors can negatively impact your bandwidth.
There is a very simple formula for determining how much bandwidth your site needs. The first factor is the size of your website—or the total amount of content, graphics, and images—expressed in kilobytes (KB). Multiply that by the number of visitors your website receives per day and then by the average number of pages each guest visits while they are on your site. Take that new number and multiply it by 30. Then convert the kilobytes to gigabytes (GB) and you’ll have your bandwidth requirements for the month. Chances are, unless you’re hosting a streaming site, you won’t need too much. Typically, the average personal blog page needs about 8GB of server bandwidth at the most.
Having too little bandwidth certainly can limit the speed and performance of your website. But, paying for unused bandwidth could be a waste of money. Is that the case, though? Unlimited bandwidth looks attractive; however, be sure to read the fine print. Chances are you will be subject to hidden fees once you exceed a predetermined bandwidth threshold, sometimes as low as 5GB. If you can, find a hosting provider that offers unmetered bandwidth as opposed to unlimited. If you can’t find an unmetered option, select a plan that offers twice the amount you need.
Adjusting the Flow
There are a few things you can do to make better use of the bandwidth you currently have. You can make your website smaller, thereby reducing the overall bandwidth needs. You can do that by compressing the entire site with the help of available online tools. As you add new images to your site, compress them, too. Finally, don’t offer too many—or too large—downloads.
Just because you have your bandwidth needs set doesn’t mean they won’t change. You could require more bandwidth if you change the site’s layout, you start to receive more visitors to your site, your site adds more pages or more domains, or if your site begins experiencing traffic spikes. Make sure you have enough bandwidth to keep the data flowing!
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