How much hosting bandwidth do you need?

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After reading my previous article on web hosting bandwidth, one might ask “how much bandwidth do I need?” Indeed, Bandwidth is often the major concern for most web owners when it comes to web hosting shopping. With that being said, it explains why web hosting companies are racing to provide better bandwidth offer in order to win market segment. In fact some web hosts are doing more than just offering large bandwidth capacity – they offer “unlimited” bandwidth.

Calculating A Website Bandwidth Usage

Let’s not argue how is unlimited bandwidth possible for a moment and focus on the user side – just how much bandwidth do we really need?

Here’s a simple way to do the  calculation.

Bandwidth needed = Average Page Views x Average Page Size x Average Daily Visitors x Number of days in a month (30) x Redundant Factor

  • Average Daily Visitors: The total number of monthly visitors/30.
  • Average Page Size: The average size of your web page.
  • Average Page Views: The average page viewed per visitors.
  • Redundant Factor: A safety factor ranged from 1.3 – 1.8.

Work out on the numbers and you should come to a rough estimation on the bandwidth needed for your website.

How about websites that allow file downloads?

The calculation for websites that allow large file downloading are more or less the same with above. The only different is that you’ll need some extra bandwidth for the download process. Thus, summing up the bandwidth used for website usage and downloads should bring you to the answer.

Bandwidth needed = [(Average Page Views x Average Page Size x Average Daily Visitors) + (Average Download per day x Average File Size) ] x Number of days in a month (30) x Redundant Factor

  • Average Daily Visitors: The total number of monthly visitors divide by 30.
  • Average Page Size: The average size of your web page.
  • Average Page Views: The average page viewed per visitors.
  • Average File Size: The total file size divided to the number of files.
  • Redundant Factor: A safety factor ranged from 1.3 – 1.8.

A few words on redundant bandwidth

Still following me?

Now in case you’re aware, there is a factor of safety, ranging form 50% – 80%, added in each bandwidth calculation. The reason behind this is that a redundant bandwidth (extra unused bandwidth) is crucial to allow for sudden peaks in traffics.

The higher the redundant (safety) factor, the more capable is your web server to cope with sudden peaks in traffics; which can make all the difference between a pitiful and successful site advertising campaign.

Imagine your article rise all the way to the front page of Digg.com but the server fails to cope with the sudden traffics surge – that’s how a good publicity campaign turned sour.

How can I know that my site needs more bandwidth?

If your site is consistently slow and busy, then it could certainly benefit from having more bandwidth.

High chances are your web host does not have enough redundant bandwidth to deal with normal demand; the direct solution on this will be ask for a bandwidth capacity upgrade. Switching your hosting to dedicated server might be another option as it avoids sharing your website connections with others.

Also, disabling your users to download files directly from your website might be a good option. Hosting large download-able files via a third party file hosting service often makes more economical sense.

To learn more, read my list of top 10 free file hosting services.

Hosting is more than just about Bandwidth!

Cheap Web Hosting Price

Apparently when it comes to choosing the right web hosting plan, there’re a lot more to be concerned than just bandwidth. So hey, next time when you’re looking for web hosting services, remember not to limit your eyeballs only on the bandwidth offers. Put an eye on other factors such as server stability, web host uptime record, server load time and so on – without sufficient these server resources – unlimited bandwidth are plain meaningless.

32 Comments

  1. @Frank:
    Yes indeed hosting offers nowadays are unbelievably cheap. There are even companies that are offering unlimited hosting capacity!

    The main purpose of this blogpost, however, is not to tell you which hosting service to go for. Rather, it’s to guide users thru the bandwidth calculation process – in turn, estimate how much bandwidth do their websites need.

  2. Bandwidth data transfer Requirement for a wordpress blog | The Code Inside

  3. 15 tips on how not to get screwed by your web host

  4. I think you guys are pretty on it as far as bandwidth. Oh and by the way, great article! I am new to this and the calculating formula is A+! Asterhost great point, in this day and age if your host site isn’t up to the 99.9% up time standard, they are behind. I see so many resellers in my area focusing more on bandwidth, with HUGE and I mean HUGE bandwidth allotments. I never understood that so I came here to make sure I wasn’t behind the ball. I could use a touch up to the plans on bandwidth, but at least I know I am not offering wasted space.

    Thanks for the article!

  5. This a very informative article! I can say that CPU usage is the most important on a shared hosting. Most of companies will allow to use unlimited bandwidth, but will not allow to use maximum CPU.
    The uptime is also very important!

  6. Thank you for sharing this formula. I’ve been trying to figure this out and am grateful to have found this information. Do you recommend calculating the bandwidth needed on the amount of traffic we are currently getting or on what we hope to achieve? Should we make sure we can handle what we intend to service or upgrade as we go?

  7. Very good article, however how do you calculate the bandwidth for a site that is not live yet?

    I am looking into hosting pacakgaes but I am unsure how much bandwidth I’ll need, or what type of server would be best. Any information would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Amara

  8. What to look for in a blog hosting

  9. Actually I was lloking for the info how much badwidth allocation any one have but here i found only a formula even not a single exact answer about the bandwidth allocation and vsitors per day….

  10. I suppose it depends entirely on your site(s), are they dynamic (PHP/MySQL) or static (HTML)? There is surely a limit because of resource usage, there’s probably some fineprint in the TOS?

  11. What about scaling? For example, your site gets linked by a very popular site.. in theory any hosting provider could handle the spike in bandwidth?

    Also, I have a windows app that I’d like to have running in the cloud. How would I do this?

    Thanks!

  12. I have been with bluehost for 2 years or so and at this stage I have not had any problems with hosting.

    What I would like to know is how much monthly bandwidth is acceptable to bluehost.

    As I add more and more domains, it would be advantageous to stage within an acceptable limit.

    Dave

  13. hi i am bit confused. i have a bulk sms website and is hosted on esnet dedicated server. but the reports says that the site is up but the site gets too slow when using the database.

  14. Bandwidth needed = Average Page Views (per day?) x Average Page Size x Average Daily Visitors x Number of days in a month (30) x Redundant Factor

    Mine is 8000 x 35 x 4000 x 30 x 1.5 = 50,400,000,000

    So what the heck does that huge number mean when the hosting sites say 250GB, 500GB, etc.

    Every tutorial I’ve found with this bandwidth calculation does not tell you what the resulting number means. Obviously it isn’t GB right? So what is it?

  15. @lori

    The number that you should get will be in kilobytes.

    50,400,000,000 kilobytes = 50,400 gigabytes

    So you’re probably wondering why that’s such a ridiculous number, and I think it’s because the pageviews were miscalculated. The average page views are not supposed to be per day or anything, just how many pages are viewed by each visitor.

    Looking at your numbers, your average pageview is probably 2 (not 8000 -> 4000 visitors per day each visiting 2 pages).

    So to recalculate it for you:

    2 Pageviews (average per visitor)
    35 kilobytes (average page size)
    4000 visitors (per day)
    30 days
    1.5-1.8 (redundant factor)

    = 12,600,000 to 15,120,000 kilobytes per month

    or somewhere between 12.6 and 15.1 gigabytes per month.

    Not quite enough to need a dedicated server, but I would definitely look into a good virtual private server if I were you.

    I hope that helps!

  16. Volusion has been recommended to me. The offer 250 bandwidth and a full service hosting environment, including SEO, SSL, and e-commerce. Any comments welcome.

  17. @megin

    Do yourself a favor and forget about Volusion. All they have is an outdated e-commerce application with absolutely NO SEO. Their business model is based on overcharging for bandwith (read the small print…)

    If an online store is what you’re after, go to a modern e-commerce platform like shopify.com or similar.

    If you decide to go with Volusion, I am looking forward to your comments back in this post in about 3 months :-)

  18. I am new to all this and wanting to start an online store. Is BigCommerce a good platform? For 100 products, JPGs etc?

  19. “…or somewhere between 12.6 and 15.1 gigabytes per month.”

    But what would that translate to if you were buying your own pipe? That is, if you were kitting out your own Internet connection, would you consider a 3Mb/s connection? 30Mb/s? 300Mb/s? 3Gb/s? 30Gb/s?

  20. Hi. How about Bandwith IN and Bandwidth OUT? What is that?

    Also, I am making cost for website with features like youtube where people view and upload videos. How do you then calculate bandwidth?

    Say, each video is being uploaded and viewed has maximum has maximum size of 50MB. Will that be added to the page size?

    What will be the best estimate page size (for calculation purposes) for a regular web page?

    Thank you. Reading this article is very informative.

    Thanks.

  21. hi …thinking of starting an advertising website ..example site .kijiji…obviously i am hoping for the best. Do you have any advice on webservers and what i should questions i should be asking about volume customers etc. …thanks cheryl

  22. One is sure! Unlimited Shared Hosting affords max bandwidth but not web space. They gonna keep an eye as soon as it exceeds 25 GB.

  23. Does your blog need its own domain?

  24. Basically most host users will never use up all their bandwidth unless they are a HUGE site, hence the reason all the hosting companies off “unlimited bandwidth” now since they know you’ll never use it all. So it sounds good to them to give you such a great offer to sign up.

    The real issue is your Database server. That is the CPU hog, and most of the time if attacked with requests will bog down all other processes.

    So you really want to make sure you have a good high end DB server and you should be fine, as our own ecommerce website http://www.DasCheap.com is on a dedicated platform with maxed out RAM and SSD.

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