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Understanding Web Hosting Bandwidth

Aug 20, 2008
"Bandwidth" is a title that you may have heard many web hosts, including your own, discussing from time to time. A simple definition of this term is that is how much data is passed over an internet connection from one set to another. Bandwidth is one of the most important services that a web host can provide and is usually measured in how bits are sent each second. The amount of data being used on a website varies depending on what the the website is being used for. Sites where there is a lot of interaction and communication will take up a bigger bandwidth and this means sites like forums or blogs take up more bandwidth than a more common website. These sites offer far more interaction with the opportunity to load up content and add debate or opinions which is why they take up more bandwidth. These websites will have a greater amount of traffic in comparison to standard websites provided by firms which is another reason why in comparison, the amount of bandwidth that is used by communication or network sites will be much higher.

To define bandwidth mathematically one can say that, if your website is of 10 KB and the total number of hits is 20 per day, then your bandwidth would be 10 x 20 bites and if you want a monthly report multiple it with 30. Bandwidth is sometimes measured in bytes also.

8 bits = 1 byte and 1024 bytes = 1 Kilobytes

The heavy images on websites and too many feedbacks from the customers waste bandwidth. Moreover, if the user tends to download heavy items from the web then he/she would be expecting heavy consumption of bandwidth as well. Therefore, if you want your website to be filled up with videos, graphics and information then make sure that the bandwidth provided by your web host matches with your requirements. Some of the web hosts promise to provide large number of such services but later they turn their faces. Hence, in this respect proper selection of the hosts is also demanded.

Determine the amount of bandwidth you need

Is it easy to calculate how much bandwidth your website will need? There are different areas to consider but at the top of your list must be the mathematical and technological considerations. Other influences will also include your proposed content and hopes for future projects. Being able to have an excess amount of bandwidth to cover emergencies or expansion is vital to many web users. This is why it is very important to consider how much bandwidth you will expect to use before you meet with web host providers. This will give you a starting point before you talk to the provider but they will be able to offer you assistance with this topic also. Be aware that the vast majority of web providers bundle their bandwidth usage per month and knowing this can help you plan ahead. Most firms will total their bandwidth in this manner:

Average Page Views x Average Daily Visitors x Average Page Size Fudge Factor x 30

While if you allow people ample downloading options from your website your bandwidth would be measured as:

[(Visitors per day x number of pages looked at x size of the page) added to (the size of downloads per day x the size of the file downloaded) times the maximum number of days in a month (31) times by a variable factor.

Note: All these are measured based on average data.

How traffic and bandwidth are linked:

There is a strong correlation between bandwidth usage and the amount of traffic a website gets. The best judge of this is quite often the visitors to a website as they will have first hand experience of undertaking actions of the site. This can be seen if a visitor wishes to download a music track or a video from the site. This creates traffic between the visitors' computer and the website. The bandwidth this takes up can be very low if the user has a rapid internet connection, which helps the file to download in a short space of time. The opposite can be said if the user has a very slow connection and this will result in a long download time and a large amount of bandwidth being used. This is very important if you are trying to keep note of how many bits are being transferred as this is what is classed as traffic.

Learn how to reduce the amount of bandwidth that you use.

It might happen suddenly that you receive a monthly bill for hosting that brings perspiration on your forehead. The hosting company justified the bill explaining that the monthly minimum bandwidth usage has been exceeded for your website and asks you to bring down the file size in your website. You are at a fix and simply do not know what would be your send stand.

Each website is populated by a number of files and each file has a corresponding size. If a visitor comes to your site and accesses these files, there will be an impact on the amount of bandwidth that your site uses. Remember that it is your website and you can influence the use of by reducing or increasing the usage depending on the needs of the site. Given that it is your website, you can impose limits on the number of files or downloadable content that is made available on your site. Each individual file can have a large size by itself and if it is downloaded by a large number of users can have a great impact on the bandwidth that is being used. Anything that increases bandwidth use will increase the cost you incur. A simple example of this can come in a large graphic that is on your homepage which each visitor is required to download. If this happens a lot of times the amount of bandwidth being used will become excessive. Some people may decide to take this page away from their site but this is not always an option so it may be worthwhile trying to reduce the size of graphics or logos available. These changes may not seem a lot but it may make a noticeable difference when your next bill comes from your web host provider. Another opportunity to improve the amount of bandwidth you site uses is to take advantage of Cascading Style sheets as it is based around HTML files and these have a much smaller size.

Ways to improve your bandwidth use:

* Always keep an estimation of the number of visiting or can visit your page in future. A monthly estimation is always beneficial.

* It may be possible to purchase a meter free bandwidth facility. This facility may feature a higher than usual cost compared to a limited bandwidth provision but clearly there is no risk of going beyond a pre-set limit. The bandwidth rating is contained on your control panel but it will not be continually assessed by your web host.

* Be sure to keep a note of any alterations that are made to your website. Knowing the up to date size of your site will allow you to accurately forecast your bandwidth usage and bills.

* If you can, keep the number of visitors comments to a minimum. You may wish to allow only pre-approved or carefully selected comments onto your site.

* Have a conversation with your provider about being to improve your services. A rise in your usage may not lead to a rise in the amount of bandwidth being used. However, you may be able to benefit by eliminating any files that are no longer required.

* If you use JavaScript then instead of embedding it in each page, use it externally.

* If you resize any of your graphics or logo, remember to refresh and upload to ensure your bandwidth usage is kept to a minimum.

Last remarks:

There are many places to get advice on how best to use your bandwidth but the strongest advice would come from your web host. The advice that is offered by the firm should also be factored into the decision you make about provider to go with. There are many factors that will impact on how much your bandwidth costs you but the layout and content will have a lot to do with it. The amount of different factors that can have an influence on the cost involved means the support and advice from your web provider can be a vital factor in keeping your expenditure within budget. This support can be extremely helpful in combating in bandwidth theft. This occurs when other web users place links to graphics and images that are held on your site by linking to them from their site. This is an offense that carries a punishment and is not to be encouraged. This means that if you are advised of undertaking this activity you should always refuse. All decisions in life should feature some form of research and the same can be said for choosing which bandwidth provider to work with. Always be sure to communicate with your web provider to learn the best ways about the best ways to reduce how much bandwidth you use.
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This article is published with permission from WebHostingMadness.com, a provider of hosting company ratings, articles and helpful guides on web hosting.
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