When you are buying insufficient bandwidth, you might find yourself in two undesired situations: paying, usually high fees, for the extra bandwidth your web site needed or having your web site shut off. Overbuying bandwidth is not a good thing either as it will put you in the position to pay for something you don’t use. This article is intended to help you determine just how much of bandwidth your web site requires.
What is bandwidth anyway?
Let’s just see what bandwidth is. Bandwidth is the term that is used to denote the amount of data that has been transferred from your web space to the computers of your visitors. To put it simple, bandwidth is the amount of data that flows across a network wire in a given period of time. In web hosting industry this time period usually is one month. This happens simply because web hosting providers are also charged monthly for their huge broadband Internet connection. This is the cost that ultimately is then passed on to the consumer in the form price for their individual web hosting plan.
Bandwidth being such a delicate matter for a successful web presence, could you at least estimate the bandwidth needs of your web site? The answer is yes, you can estimate it, but you can never be sure of your estimate being perfectly correct because of all the variables involved.
How do I calculate my bandwidth?
If your index.html page has a size of let’s say 50 KB, every time you get a visitor on your start page (assuming that your visitors will only open you first page and not browse your entire web site), your visitor will download 50 KB of information onto his or hers computer. For 100 visitors, you will get a total of 5.000 KB of data being transferred from the web server hosting your site to your visitor’s computers.
So a formula for computing your estimated needs of bandwidth would look like this:
Size of your web content * number of visitors that accessed that web page = your consumed bandwidth
The formula looks very simple, yet estimating correctly the bandwidth required by your web site is anything but simple. This is obvious when you look at what makes up this formula.
The size of one web page is one thing, and the total size of your web site is another. You should take into consideration the total size of your web site and this means including files offered for download. Also web sites grow in time or even change completely. When this happens, you must redo the estimates for your web site bandwidth.
When it comes to visitors browsing your web site, it is rather difficult to predict what pages your visitors will access. For example, some visitors would stop at the index page, other will look for the contact details, and some will download your brochure. Knowing the sheer number of visitors your site has over one month can be very helpful in estimating the bandwidth required to support them.
Ultimately, when trying to find out the amount of bandwidth your web site requires you must answer two important questions:
- What is the size of your web site?
- What is the traffic your web site will get?
For a not very large web site that is not very that doesn’t offer audio/video downloads and doesn’t get very much traffic, you don’t need a very large amount of bandwidth. Average web sites use only about 500 MB of monthly bandwidth. But for small web sites that generate a lot of traffic, you should consider a web hosting plan that offers a lot of bandwidth.
For your reference, an average web site (for example a personal or a family web site) will also get average traffic, meaning a range of 50-500 visitors per day.
When assessing the requirements of your web site bandwidth, you must also understand that although you have purchased your web hosting together with the bandwidth as “per month”, your total monthly bandwidth is usually broken down into daily rates. Exceeding the daily rates might result in having your web site shut down for the day.