A Guide to Understanding Bandwidth for Websites

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Understanding bandwidth is one of the more difficult issues about technology when it comes to choosing a web hosting service while planning to create your website. You may have all sorts of questions in your head, from what it is to how much you need. Even if you aren’t new to website planning, completely understanding bandwidth can be a little overwhelming. The two main things you need to know about bandwidth include:

  • You need the right bandwidth to successfully fulfill your needs when planning a website.
  • Failure in choosing right will result in additional charges and underperformance of your website.

What Is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth is the term used to describe the level of data and traffic which is allowed to travel and transfer between the internet, user, and your site. Web hosting companies will offer different bandwidth levels. This gives you an indication of which hosting companies feature the best when it comes to systems, connections, and networks. When a web hosting company can provide more bandwidth, it means that their system, network, and connection will be better and faster than their competitors.

Your Network Connectivity

The internet consists of millions upon millions of different computers all connected by networks around the world. The larger the connection, the faster the network will be, and there will be more available bandwidth to a website. Those who have home internet connections may have already encountered bandwidth, although you would have seen it as your connection speed rather than bandwidth itself.

Within Web Hosting

When it comes to webhosting and bandwidth, you may notice at times that a site may be slower than normal or slower at certain times of the day. Web hosting is similar to a DSL connection to shared servers. When used on its own, your connection and bandwidth speed can be very powerful; however, when shared by many people on the one system, your bandwidth speed will slow to a crawl.

Assuring Site Performance under High Traffic Conditions

For those who are looking to gain increased traffic to their website, it is ideal to purchase a higher amount of bandwidth. This will allow a larger amount of people to visit your site simultaneously, while still having the opportunity to experience your website without it slowing down.

The only downside to having higher bandwidth is that it does require a very skilled professional company to manage your bandwidth when traffic levels are at an all-time high. The success of your website will be determined by how it operates under high levels of traffic. Will your website cope? Can it handle your allotted amount of visitors that your bandwidth can handle simultaneously?

Understanding your overall traffic pattern is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to choosing a suitable bandwidth plan. It is best to do research on the visitor demographic that you may likely receive. This will help you make a more informed decision about your bandwidth needs. Most businesses tend to pay for more bandwidth to assure their website provides consistent performance for all visitors throughout the day.

How Much Bandwidth Do You Need?

Working out how much bandwidth your site will need while still working within your budget really depends on a variety of factors. The following formula can help you to work this out.

The Bandwidth Formula

The following formula is suitable for websites that don’t offer file downloads and will tell you how much bandwidth you will roughly need:

Daily Visitors x Daily Page Views x Average Page Size x 31 x Tolerance Number

For websites which do offer downloadable files, the following equation should be used:

(Daily Visitors x Daily Page Views x Average Page Size) + (Daily File Downloads x Average File Size) x 31 x Tolerance Number

The Solution

This is an example of how much bandwidth you may need if your site numbers were similar to that given below:

(Daily visitors [200] x Daily page views [650] x Average page size [60]) + (Daily file downloads [10] x Average downloaded file [850]) x 31 x 2

Simplified, this gives us:

7,800,000 + 8500 x 31 x 2

Although this number looks rather large—484,127,800KB—it converts to roughly 462GB. This is the amount of bandwidth that is required for this type of website.

Considering Bandwidth and Web Design

Whether you realize it or not, your web design can affect the amount of bandwidth you may need. The more complicated and larger website designs generally require more bandwidth to help keep the site running efficiently. Bandwidth is used when a person visits your website, even when they don’t get past the homepage. In today’s world, thankfully, trends in modern web designs are now allowing for more minimalized and simplistic designs that still provide the professional edge and contemporary look without compromising your budget. It is best to talk to your web host company or IT specialist to determine your bandwidth needs for your website design. So … how much bandwidth did you need?