When you purchase a plan from a hosting company, you will notice that an amount of bandwidth is included in that package. So what exactly is bandwidth? How does it effect you and your website? How does it relate to web hosting? Here are the keys elements explained.
What is Bandwidth?
- Bandwidth is actually a term containing several components. It is not only the amount of traffic or data transfer passing through a website, it is also the size of the conduit that this data passes through and the speed of the conduit. There are some technical equations that calculate all of this into a number that really doesn’t mean much to a website owner.
- Bandwidth can be easier to understand if we use an analogy from everyday life that we can all relate to. Think of Bandwidth as highway “traffic”. If someone was to ask you “what was the traffic like on your way over?” Your answer would most likely take into consideration the number of lanes, the max speed of the highway, the speed you were actually able to travel and the number of cars on the road at the time, all factoring in to your answer as to how you perceived the “traffic” to be.
- In website hosting, the term “bandwidth” is often incorrectly used to describe the amount of data transferred to or from the website or server within a prescribed period of time, for example understanding bandwidth consumption accumulated over a month measured in gigabytes per month, ie.. the number of cars actually passing through the highway. The more accurate way to state this is the amount of data passing through a hosting account each month or “monthly data transfer”. If you happen to exceed the amount of monthly data transfer that is allocated to your plan you will run into additional charges, just like you would on a cell phone when you go over your minutes. Every hosting plan has a limit. Hosting companies offering “unlimited” bandwidth will usually have some fine print explaining exceptions or will simply slow your rate of transfer. There is no such thing as unlimited, so if it sounds too good to be true- chances are it is.
- What you can do to reduce your monthly transfer: Be careful to choose a hosting plan that includes more than enough bandwidth space to fit your sites needs. Its better to have too much than too little. If you find that you are experiencing constant overage fees, you will want to to determine if you should upgrade to a higher hosting plan.
Let’s finish by stating that most personal or small business sites will not need more than a few GB of bandwidth per month. If you do go over the amount of bandwidth allocated in your plan, your hosting company could charge you overage fees. If you think the traffic to your site will be high, you will want to calculate the bandwidth required in a hosting plan that will fit your needs. For full details on hosting plans, please check out our site at www.mainehost.com