Web Hosting Bandwidth Explained

Web Hosting Beginner Guides : Dedicated Hosting

Web Hosting Bandwidth

What is bandwidth?

In computer networking or computer science, bandwidth is the term used as the measurement of data transfer rates. Bandwidth in computer world is measured in kbit/s or Mbit/s, technical definition:

In computer networking and computer science, digital bandwidth, network bandwidth or just bandwidth is a measure of available or consumed data communication resources expressed in bit/s or multiples of it (kbit/s, Mbit/s etc).

The real meaning of web hosting bandwidth

However, the term ‘bandwidth’ is commonly misused in the hosting world and the word poses a second meaning: amount of data allowed to be transferred within a certain time period. For example Web Hosting A offers 1,500 GB bandwidth in their shared hosting plan – this means as Web Hosting A’s customer, you can transfer up to 1,500 GB of data in a month.

In brief, bandwidth simply means the maximum amount of data allowed to be transferred each month in a hosting account.

Exactly how much bandwidth do you need?

Although most web hosts nowadays offer unlimited bandwidth and neglect the needs of precise bandwidth allocation, it’s nevertheless a good practice for webmasters to learn how to calculate their website’s bandwidth needs.

The amount of necessary bandwidth depends on your website traffics and application. While many web hosting providers are offering unlimited bandwidth nowadays, most websites or blogs do not need a lot of bandwidth.

To calculate how much bandwidth you need:

Bandwidth = Total of Estimated Page Views (in 30 days) x Average Page Size x Safety Factor

In case your website allows downloads, then:

Bandwidth = [Total of Estimated Page Views (in 30 days) x Average Page Size + Total number of downloads (in 30days) x Average File Size] x Safety Factor

The value of safety factor depends on how ‘safe’ you want your website to be from sudden traffics spikes. Personally, we think a safety factor of 2 to 2.5 should be more than enough. The higher the safety factor, the more capable is your website to survive in sudden traffics surge.

(If you think your website won’t experience such traffics spikes, think again – by including Digg or Stumble Upon effects. These social networking websites can send thousands of visitors in just a couple of hours. Don’t leave your website unprepared before you launching any Web2.0 marketing campaign.)

Is unlimited hosting bandwidth possible?

Is unlimited bandwidth for real? Well the answer is of course no. Think about it, the resources in our world is always limited – limited silicon, iron, aluminium; thus limited mother board, connecting cables, and computer RAM – under such condition, how can one get to provide unlimited hosting capacity? Is unlimited hosting for real? The answer is always a big no!

So you are saying that unlimited hosting is actually scam?

No, we are not saying that unlimited hosting deal is completely fraud – at least not in our modern nowadays. Think about our bank system – you deposit your cash in bank and the bank guarantees you that your money will be safe with them and you can withdraw the money whenever you want. Now what if every single bank customer rushes to the bank and withdraw their money out? Do you think the bank can live up to their promises? Certainly not! (as most cash are actually leased out in term of housing or personal loans)

Back to our question about unlimited web hosting – hosting companies, just like banks, are actually betting the facts that most hosting users will only consume a small fraction of the hosting power at one time (just like most depositors will only withdraw a small amount of money at one time) . Seeing such, hosting companies with excessive hosting capacity (bandwidth pipes, computer servers, manpower… etc) simply oversell those unused resources.

Final words about unlimited hosting dilemma

The amount of hosting bandwidth is only one of the factors to decide if a web host is worth your money and time. Is unlimited hosting deals recommended? Yes of course – if the hosting company is reliable and manage their overselling policy efficiently, why not? Remember, you need more than just hosting bandwidth and disk storage to keep your website running smoothly. There are a lot of other attributes that are more important than hosting bandwidth and storage capacity – for example, the company’s reputation and capability. T

hink, what’s the use of having unlimited disk storage when you can only run two MySQL database? What’s the point of having unlimited bandwidth but your server processing power couldn’t handle your website features? This is why professional web hosting reviews and customer feedbacks are important.


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