One of the first specs people consider when looking at website hosting services is the bandwidth offered by the host. This, alongside storage space, pricing, and other features are usually the main considerations when selecting a hosting service for your site. But do you know what bandwidth is, really? And how much do you need for your site?
What is Bandwidth?
You probably know that websites run on the exchange of information between the hosting server and the visitor’s browser. There’s some complexity there when a CDN is involved, but generally it’s pretty straightforward.
You can think of bandwidth as the capacity of the server to exchange this data — the size of the data “pipeline,” if you will.
The reason why bandwidth is so important is because website performance is so key for keeping visitors on your site. When you’re using a significant portion of your bandwidth, your website’s performance suffers, and that usually leads to a poor visitor experience.
How to Calculate Your Needed Bandwidth
Calculating bandwidth is actually pretty straightforward. The equation is:
Average page size x average number of daily visitors x average number of pageviews per visitor
So, if your average page is 2MB, you get 500 visitors a day, and they each look at 5 pages before leaving, your required daily bandwidth would be 5GB. To this, you want to add a margin of error of about 50% in case of traffic spikes—so your website does not shut down at the slightest increase in traffic. So, you would actually want bandwidth of 10GB a day, to be safe, for a website with the specs outlined above.
Is Unlimited Bandwidth Real?
Most hosts these days offer unlimited hosting and unlimited bandwidth. While this may technically be true, it doesn’t take much thinking to realize that it’s actually impossible for hosts to offer this to hundreds or thousands of customers — hosts have a capacity, and they can only provide so much performance.
The reason the unlimited bandwidth proposition has stuck around is that most new websites don’t actually get very much traffic, so they don’t test these boundaries. When a website does get more popular and its performance begins to suffer, websites usually upgrade their plan and get more bandwidth to go with that.
At CanSpace, we like to be very clear about the bandwidth we offer. Our starter plan has 15GB of bandwidth per month, which is actually plenty for the average website on the Internet. If a customer finds that their site is growing, our Medium plan is the next logical upgrade, and for customers looking for the highest level of performance, along with unlimited bandwidth, we usually recommend our Professional plan. This plan offers more customization and can easily be set up to accommodate a website of any size.
Do you have a question related to bandwidth for your site? Contact us today to find out more!