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What is bandwidth?

The term bandwidth typically refers to the amount of data that can be transferred between users on your website within specified periods of time.This user data is transferred across various end users and the main servers hosting your website. As such, it is prudent to define the bandwidth as the amount of data transferred between users on a website and the server hosting the website.

The metric units used to calculate the bandwidth are measured in Gigabytes (GB). These metric values are also used to determine the relative bandwidth sold by different website hosting companies. Even so, you will still come across various web hosting providers who offer ‘unlimited bandwidth’.

Importance of bandwidth

Now that we have an idea of what the bandwidth is, you must be asking yourself why the bandwidth is important. The bandwidth is important as it lets you determine how fast your website will run and especially during peak times where there is high data traffic. A faster website will automatically attract customers to your site as customers would always want to engage with highly responsive systems.

It is vital to have an increasing growth in the audience if you plan to increase your business prospectus. In fact, higher bandwidths allow you to have more dynamic features available to your audience. I would also mention that higher bandwidths could allow you to include a myriad of features pertaining to the website such that customers could have access to more products/services when accesing the site.

More features are typically more appealing to the site visitors thus a higher bandwidth would be ideal for your business website. Even so, you have to take into consideration the most appropriate page sizes that would work for your site.

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Checking the bandwidth

Checking the bandwidth is vital to tracking your site’s ability to store and facilitate the viewing of critical business information by your site’s visitors. For website owners hosting under WordPress hosting, this information is available on the account’s dashboard. Of course you can only access this informaton if you have already logged in into your account.

With other web hosting providers, you can access the control panel and access the particular section that allows you to view the site resource activity. This information is available for every single web host but looks different for every single hosting service. Some web hosting sites have a link or relative icons that allow to be able to access the resource activity such as the bandwidth being used within the sites.

Through the resource activity, you will be able to access information regarding the bandwidth that has been used in the last twenty four hours, the past week, month or even the past year. This information is also displayed graphically through visual charts of your own choosing.

Calculating needed bandwidth

The information regarding the bandwidth used is relevant in that, you can be able to calculate the amount of data bandwidth required to effectively satisfy the customer demand for the products and services offered in the business site.There are 3 steps involved in calculating the  relative bandwidth of a site:

  1. Estimate the approximate page size for your hosted site
  2. Multiply this page size by the approximate number of users in a month
  3. Multiply the results in step2 by the number of page views made by a single user at a  time
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For instance, if you had an average page size of 50 kilobytes (Including images and Flash), then for 20,000 users at 5 pages per visitor, then you would have 50 X 20,000 X 5 = 5,000,000kb. This is an approximate 5Gb bandwidth. So for your site to be able to host 20,000 visitors in a month, viewing at least 5 pages each, then you would require at least a bandwidth of 5Gigabytes.

It is essential for you to be able to calculate your bandwidth requirement for your site if you are to run a seamless website with no throttling. Further, you can be able to determine the best web hosting provider for your needs.

Unlimited bandwidth

When I was describing the meaning of bandwidths, I might have mentioned that some of the web hosting providers offer unlimited bandwidths. In reality, there is no such thing as an unlimited bandwidth. Ideally, an unlimited bandwidth would mean having an endless supply of the bandwidth space such that the website could accommodate virtually all site visitors loading as many pages as possible.

However, this proponent is not accurate. When we are talking about an unlimited bandwidth, in reality what we mean is an ‘Unmetered bandwidth’. The web hosting providers that offer unlimited bandwidth can only offer unlimited bandwidth for as high as the hosting provider can be able to within the stipulated parameters offered to them by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

Web hosts advertise an unlimited bandwidth because they are positive that an unlimited bandwidth would attract a lot of customers and that when using a shared server. It is difficult for the web hosting provider to use up all the available bandwidth provision offered to them on the subscription package limits that have been granted to them by the respective ISPs.

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Exceeding bandwidth

Exceeding the bandwidth limit could cause one of three things to happen: Either your subscription service will be terminated/suspended, you can be charged for overage or your site speed will be capped such that you will be operating at extremely low site loading speeds.

For the first instance, your account services can be terminated or suspended to avoid you going over the package limitations that you subscribed to. This will typically prompt the customers to upgrade to higher package subscriptions. Alternatively, you may find that your hosting provider may charge you for overage usage of the bandwidth. These web hosting providers  do so to avoid inconveniencing your business site.

All in all, you may feel that you are not ready to upgrade to the next higher subscription package and as such, you will want to consider strategies of reducing the relative bandwidth used on your site. You can consider compression techniques where you compress your images as well as compressions from HTTP, CSS and/or Javascript by using a caching plugin.