Every time someone views a web page or downloads a file, bandwidth – also known as data transfer – is used. How much is used depends on the size of the page or file that is being viewed or downloaded. Essentially, the amount of bandwidth that your web site will need depends on two key factors: (1) Web site content and file size (2) Web site traffic/popularity. Let’s look at a few web site examples to get an idea of what their bandwidth requirements might be, and why.
Let’s start with web sites that have high-bandwidth requirements. If you have a web site that has large-sized content and gets a huge amount of traffic, you’re going to need a lot of bandwidth. An example of a web site that requires a lot of bandwidth would be http://www.compfused.com/ This web site is comprised of thousands of pages, and almost all of those pages are packed with images and video clips. Simply viewing the pages uses a lot of bandwidth, and of course downloading the video clips uses a TON of bandwidth. Combine this with the fact that this web site probably gets tens of thousands of visitors per day and you can see that its bandwidth requirements are quite extensive.
At the other end of the spectrum we have low-bandwidth web sites. A good example of a web site that requires a relatively low amount of bandwidth is my own site http://www.webhostingdiscounts.net/ Take a good look around this site and you’ll notice that its layout is very simple – this simple design is intentional to ensure fast page loads. My web site has about 20 pages total, and most of those pages are pure text, and therefore have a very small file size. Even though I get a good amount of traffic to this web site, its bandwidth requirements are very low because all the files that are viewed are very small and require very little bandwidth to serve up. My web site can get thousands of visitors per day and not break a sweat.
Now that we’ve looked at examples of high and low-bandwidth web sites, it’s probably a good time for me to mention that many web sites on the Internet fall into neither of these categories. Rather, your average web site is more of a medium-bandwidth web site, meaning that it is a cross between the high and low-bandwidth web sites that we discussed above. Pinpointing the optimal bandwidth for medium-bandwidth web sites can be difficult, but with proper planning you should be able to get pretty close.
The average web site contains a mix of text and images throughout its pages, and may or may not offer files for download. The average web site also gets average traffic, meaning anywhere from 50-500 visitors per day. Assuming these factors, a hosting plan with anywhere from 3-5 gigabytes (GB) of data transfer per month should suffice. For sites that get more than 500 visitors per day, or those that offer numerous large files for download, it may be wise to secure a hosting plan with 50 gigabytes of data transfer per month – or more. It is important to note that most web hosts quote your allotted bandwidth in “per month” terms, when in fact that number is actually broken down to a “per day” limit. For example: one web site of mine has 125GB of allotted bandwidth/data transfer per month. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? It is. However, in reality that equates to about 4.2GB of bandwidth per day. One day, several months ago, I made a large (12 megabyte) video available for download on this web site. It received over 400 downloads within the first two hours! That amounted to 4800 megabytes (MB) of data transfer, or 4.8 gigabytes. You guessed it, I exceeded my daily bandwidth allowance and my site was disabled for 24 hours. Lesson learned? Either order more bandwidth or adjust my web site content to fall within my bandwidth limitations. Not wanting to pony up the dough and purchase more bandwidth, I removed the video.