What is bandwidth? If you are hosting your website on a server, this is an important question that you need to know the answer for!
The internet has been an integral part of the world of business and commerce for quite some time now. Nowadays, the internet is becoming more and more accessible to the masses. This trend is affecting the smaller and upcoming businesses as well.
They are eager to create their own website and announce their presence to the world. That is where many people tend to stumble. It is nearly impossible for most people to get a web server solely for their own use.
Unfortunately most are confused as to how much bandwidth is actually needed by them and are often confused as to what is bandwidth.
Bandwidth: An Overview
Basically, bandwidth is the amount of traffic and data usage that can be handled by any server.
Any website is kept on a server. A person wanting to view that site from his computer needs to access it through the internet. The data is now passed to and from that personal computer and the server. This is called traffic.
Now, if only one person tries to access the data then it will be smooth. If more people try to access the same data at the same time then the website will load slowly.
This is due to the fact that all servers have a limited capacity on how much data they can transfer at any given point of time. This is called bandwidth.
Let us look at an example to gain a better understanding of what is bandwidth by comparing it with the ticket counters at a movie theater. The number of counters is the bandwidth.
During the morning shows, few people use them; therefore it is faster to get a ticket. These people are the web traffic in our example. Due to the lower number of people, the booths remain more or less free and tickets can be purchased quickly.
During a premiere, more people line up to get a ticket. The number of counters being limited, people have to wait in line to for longer times to get a ticket.
Therefore, more the number of counters, faster will the tickets be sold. This applies to the bandwidth offered by any web hosting company.
How much bandwidth does a website require?
It can quite difficult to exactly calculate how much bandwidth is actually needed by a website. If the bandwidth is too low, then the website will take longer to load and cause visitors to get fed up.
If it is too much, then the extra bandwidth is being wasted and so is the money. Finding a solution to this conundrum can be tricky but there are a few formulas that one can use. Before the formula is discussed, a few things should be known before hand.
- Approximate number of visitors daily (V) – This is the number of people one expects to visit the website on a daily basis.
- Approximate views of pages (P) – This is the number of pages an average visitor might see. A website can have a number of pages. An average visitor will only go through a few of them. Therefore, in a website containing 20 pages, a visitor may only access 5 of them.
- Approximate size of pages (PS) – This is relatively easy to figure out. The average size of all the pages in your website should be calculated in Kilobytes or KB only. Otherwise, the calculation will be way off the mark.
- Approximate number of downloads daily (D) – If the website has downloadable content, the one needs to know how many downloads one reasonably expects in an average day.
- Approximate size of downloads (DS) – This is simply the average size of the various files available for download in a website.
- Unknown Factor (X) – Here, use a number greater than 1. Using 1.5 is a safe bet. This assumes, that one’s estimate is off by 50%. Unknown factors are used to give oneself a little bit of leeway in the calculations. If one is too unsure, then one can use 2 or 3.
Now, there are two formulas given below. The first one should be used if the website does not have any downloadable content for visitors like PDF documents and MP3 media.
- V * P * PS * 31 * X
If there are downloadable content on the website then this formula should be applied.
- [(V * P * PS) + (D * DS)] * 31 * X
Tips on bandwidth consumption:
The best way to calculate the averages is by making a monthly estimate first. From there, a daily average can be compiled easily. One should remember that the sizes are to be calculated only in Kilobytes (KB).
Most hosting companies offer bandwidth plans on a monthly basis. That is why a multiplication of 31 takes place in the above formulas. The answers one gets from the above calculations are in KB. One should convert them into GB as bandwidth plans are calculated on a Gigabyte basis.
The above formulas can help in providing a much better idea on getting the best bandwidth plan. If a website requires only 5 GB of bandwidth then it does not make sense to pay for unlimited bandwidth.
In short: What is bandwidth?
A website which attracts a larger audience daily should opt for a bugger bandwidth plan. A small company with fewer daily visits should go with a smaller one to conserve money.
A better comprehension of what is bandwidth is preferable before signing up with a web hosting company. There are options available for a bandwidth speed test if one feels the web hosting company is cheating you.
An internet bandwidth test should be done to check bandwidth usage regularly as there are cases of unscrupulous companies taking advantage of small companies. A regular bandwidth monitor can save money in the long run. After all, the popularity of any website can decrease or increase dramatically within a short space of time.