What is Web Hosting Bandwidth?
When you go to purchase a web hosting service from a provider, there are a variety of parameters or factors to look for. Just like when you purchase any other product, there are always a number of specific features to look for.
When it comes to web hosting, one of the most important features is bandwidth. Bandwidth is a common term, but what does it mean? What is web hosting bandwidth, why is it important, and how much do you need?
What is Web Hosting Bandwidth? – A Simple Explanation
In simplest terms, web hosting bandwidth refers to the amount of data which a website can transfer in a given time period. The more bandwidth a web host can provide your website, the better and faster it will function, generally speaking.
You can think of web hosting bandwidth like a water pipe and its diameter. The narrower that pipe is (less bandwidth), the less data can travel through it over a certain period of time.
The wider or large that pipe is (more bandwidth), the more data can travel through it in that same amount of time. It’s all about how much data your website can transfer to all of the people visiting and viewing your site, and how fast it can do this. Bandwidth is usually measured in gigabytes or GB for short.
Why is it Important?
People often wonder why bandwidth is important and what it actually does for a website. The amount of bandwidth your site has is directly related to how much info or data it can send to customers and how fast it can do so.
In other words, it’s all about speed, how fast your website is, how fast it loads, and everything related to this. The bigger that pipe is (going back to our original analogy), the more data can flow through it in a limited amount of time.
This is very important, and the larger your site is, the more features it has, and the more people view your site simultaneously, the more bandwidth your site will need to have. Every single piece of data which your website has to load requires a certain amount of bandwidth, and some things require more than others.
For instance, text will require very little bandwidth, images will need more, and videos need the most. Moreover, every person that visits your site is going to be loading your site’s content, so this needs to be taken into account as well. It’s all about how large your site is, how many fancy functions, features, images, and videos there are on the site, and how many people view the site.
How do I Check My Web Hosting Bandwidth?
Checking your available bandwidth and bandwidth usage is easily done with virtually every web host. Basic web hosting services, such as shared hosting plans, may not let you view these stats, but most decent providers should.
For instance, if you happen to be using WordPress hosting, you should be able to go to ‘site metrics’ and then to ‘bandwidth,’ where you will be able to see all relevant statistics. You should be able to see how much bandwidth was used in a certain time period by your site, such as in 24 hours, a day, a week, a month, or even a full year.
It is important to keep an eye on bandwidth because web hosts will usually only provide you with a certain amount. If you only have XX amount of bandwidth for the month, but you’ve already used 50% of it in the first week, you are going to have problems.
Can I Exceed Bandwidth? What Happens if I Do?
Yes, it is possible to exceed web hosting bandwidth allocations, and it is something which often occurs when websites grow much larger and see more traffic than was originally expected when choosing the specific hosting plan. What’s going to happen if you exceed your monthly bandwidth limit?
- Your web host may just shut your site down altogether until the next period starts
- Your web host may charge you overages, and yes, these overage fees are usually very hefty
- Your web host may automatically upgrade you to the next package with a higher bandwidth allocation
How Much Bandwidth Do I Require?
Judging how much bandwidth you require is not easily done simply by looking at your site and measuring your number of visitors. There are a lot of factors that go into determining bandwidth usage, such as the size of your site, the number of pages, the size of pages, how much media you have on pages, how many links and special features each page has, and how many people visit your site.
This is not something you can easily measure by yourself. You’d have to be super tech savvy to manage this on your own. Luckily, every good web hosting provider is going to provide you with a way to view your bandwidth usage. What you need to do is to go the dashboard provided by your web hosting provider, go the site metrics section, and check out bandwidth usage.
Once again, using the example we used above, if your site has XX amount of monthly bandwidth, let’s say 100 GB, and you have already used half of it, so 50 gigs in the first week, then you don’t have enough.
Not taking extenuating circumstances into account, if you see that roughly 50 GB of bandwidth is used in a week, you’ll need 200 GB of bandwidth per month, at the very least. However, it is recommended to have a lot more available bandwidth than you expect to use. For instance, you may decide to have a sale or offer some kind of deal on your site that is going to attract many more customers for a certain amount of time.
Bandwidth is one of the most important factors to look out for when purchasing a specific web hosting plan, and if you don’t have enough of it for your needs, you’re going to run into serious issues sooner, rather than later.