Web Hosting Bandwidth: Why Server Bandwidth Is Important For Your Website?

Web hosting bandwidth: Why server bandwidth is important for your website? When researching and choosing a host to host yours

Updated on September 1, 2023
Web Hosting Bandwidth: Why Server Bandwidth Is Important For Your Website?

Web hosting bandwidth: Why is server bandwidth important for your website? When researching and choosing a host to host yours, one to be evaluated and domain compared is the factor in the amount of bandwidth needed.

Yes, it may offer “limited” hosting plans, but the closer you get, you will find that unlimited is unlimited, for having no penalties if you use too much based on a “usage,” whatever that means. But, unfortunately, knowing how much bandwidth your site needs is an art form.

Web Hosting Bandwidth: Why Server Bandwidth Is Important For Your Website?

Web Hosting Bandwidth and Data Transfer

Essentially, bandwidth is a term for calculating the rate of traffic and data allowed between users; and your website over the Internet. Unfortunately, the term “bandwidth” is often misused to describe “data transfer,” but they are two different things.

What is data download?

So, data transfer is the total amount of data to be transferred in a given time, with average values ​​in months.

What is web hosting bandwidth?

Bandwidth is the full measure of data that can transfer in a given time, usually averaged in seconds.

The “data transfer” number tells you how much data you can transfer in a month. The number in “bandwidth” indicates how fast it can share data.

Imagine a bandwidth like the width of a water pipe where data transfer is the amount of water coming out of the line. The width of the water (bandwidth) determines how fast the water can flow (data). Fundamentally, data transfer is bandwidth consumption.

For website owners that a web host offers, the amount of bandwidth that a hosting company’s website can serve as a good one of that host’s capabilities; so, the higher the bandwidth, the better the speed, network; connectivity; and systems.

Why is bandwidth critical?

The available bandwidth determines how fast your website can deliver content to your visitors during peak traffic times. This is an essential part of growing your audience and increasing your sales.

Higher bandwidth allows website owners to have more dynamic features; and content on their sites, which may be more attractive to their visitors.

So what about unlimited web hosting bandwidth/data transfer?

Many hosting organizations support cheap hosting plans that include “unlimited bandwidth.” For the buyer, this means they can run as much data; and traffic to the site as they need, with no limits. For the hosting provider, it means a way to give a buyer a fixed cost that usually works.

So, as always, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

It is simply impossible for hosting to offer a wide range of companies; it is too expensive to provide unrestricted access to all customers. However, most companies fall into the “normal range” of bandwidth usage by default, which hosting providers use when creating “unlimited” packages. So, by “unlimited” hosting providers catering to the majority of their customer base, there is a cap on a bandwidth extension included in the package cost; the trick is knowing what it is.

By comparing your site’s actual needs to the extent of the provider needed at that bandwidth, you can determine the quality level of hosting you need and whether a particular provider will meet.

How can I check my bandwidth?

You can quickly check your bandwidth by logging into your WordPress hosting account dashboard as a website owner.

So, in the control panel, you need to look for a section that allows you to view your site’s resource activity. And this will look a little different for each host. Some web hosts facilitate this by displaying an icon or link; so you can see how much bandwidth your site is using.

So, here is an example of what it looks like in the Bluehost control panel:

checking bandwidth

So, once you click on the bandwidth breakdown, it will show you trends broken down by periods to see how much bandwidth your site has used in the last 24 hours, last week, month, and year.

Bandwidth chart

What is unlimited server bandwidth?

So, just as there is no such thing as unlimited storage space on a server, there is no such thing as unlimited bandwidth.

Multiple shared hosting companies often offer unlimited bandwidth, domains, or disk space. Unfortunately, this is misleading because every web hosting provider has bandwidth limits on their packages.

And so why do web hosts advertise “unlimited bandwidth”? So, that’s because they know that, under normal circumstances, websites on a shared server will never use all the available bandwidth.

Instead of educating non-technical website owners about server bandwidth and deciding on bandwidth needs, hosting companies find it easier to say “unlimited bandwidth” because most small websites will never exceed the limit.

Not to mention that unlimited bandwidth sounds like a great deal. But what they’re not saying is that there are limits on how much server CPU (Central Processing Unit) your website can use.

If your site exceeds these limits, a web host may temporarily shut down your site during a peak in requests and may also ask you to upgrade to a higher plan.

And when shopping for a web host, you should pay close attention to those that offer unlimited bandwidth. In addition, it is advisable to ask about their CPU usage policies and what they will do if traffic spikes.

How much bandwidth do I need?

It would help if you found the plan with the proper bandwidth for your website.

And while it’s unnecessary to pay for more bandwidth than you need, not having enough can take your site offline.

So, the amount of bandwidth required depends on the number and size of your pages, the number of visitors your site receives, and the number of pages each visitor views.

If your site is new or doesn’t have a lot of content/visitors, you don’t need a lot of bandwidth. So, a basic shared hosting plan from SiteGround or Bluehost might be a great option, even if it says “unlimited bandwidth.”

But, if your site already has many users and has a lot of graphics, images, video, audio, downloadable content, and visitors, you need more bandwidth.

The easiest way to know how much bandwidth you will need for an existing website is to log into your host account and view the traffic reports in your cPanel. Almost all web hosts provide these types of essays.

If you’re not sure, you can work with a managed WordPress hosting provider, like WP Engine or Liquid Web, who can walk you through making the right plan decision.

So, even if you start with a smaller plan at the managed hosting provider, they will not shut down your site if your bandwidth exceeds. Instead, they notify you and make changes to improve their functionality so that visitors to your website always get the best user experience.

What happens if I exceed my bandwidth?

And, if you exceed your monthly bandwidth limit, one of three things usually happens: the host may suspend your site, charge you excess fees, or automatically upgrade your plan to the next version to have more bandwidth.

How can I reduce my bandwidth?

And so, if you’re not ready to upgrade your hosting package, consider reducing your website’s bandwidth. So, you can do this by compressing images and downsizing large downloads/videos on your site.

You’ll also need to think about enabling HTTP, CSS, and JavaScript compression using a caching plugin. So, you can also have your static content stored on a content delivery network (CDN) close to your audience, reducing server load.

If you’ve exceeded the limits of your need bandwidth from your existing hosting plan, consider upgrading to a VPS hosting package, dedicated hosting, or cloud hosting.

How to calculate your website’s bandwidth needs

So, now that you understand what website bandwidth is and what it affects, you can more accurately choose the plan that suits your website and your needs. Doing this requires a bit of computation to figure out where your site’s needs are, but you also need to pay attention to growth patterns and expectations for the future.

First, if you’ve already set up your site, find out how many monthly visitors you currently have. This information is usually readily available on your host’s dashboard. If you’ve set up Google Analytics or other website analytics tools, you might also find this information.

Once you get the monthly number of visitors, check the page views for the average visit. If the average visitor hits three separate pages, that means they’re using more bandwidth than someone who lands on your homepage and leaves right away. Good news if you get page views, but you need bandwidth to support it.

Now that you know the number of visitors and the number of pages of visitors; it’s time to figure out how much data you need to transfer. You need to find the average size of the pages on your site. And you can use a variety of tools to do this. GTmetrix or Pingdom are two common options for resizing your website. So, try to check as many websites as possible to get the average available. However, you can play safely and use the largest website as a benchmark for data transfer.

Calculate your bandwidth needs

With all this information, you can calculate your bandwidth needs with the following simple formula:

(Monthly visitors * average page views) * average web page size

Here’s a simple example: Suppose your website has 1,000 visitors a month, and these visitors open 3 pages per visit. The size of each page is about 5MB. Using these numbers, the equation looks like this:

(1,000 * 3) * 5 = 15,000

That number is how many megabytes per month you transfer 15,000 MB converts to 15 GB; and which is how much bandwidth you need each month to support your current number of visitors.

And that said, you don’t want your bandwidth to just support your current needs. You will want room for growth. Set your bandwidth limit to a reasonable level; at least double your current usage. This will allow more visitors to your website in the future, and expand the content of your web page as needed. So, you need to be able to handle the surge in traffic; and the surge in interest when the site begins to take off.

Comparing web hosting bandwidth options

Most reputable web hosts offer more than reasonable bandwidth caps, even on their cheapest plans. To illustrate this fact, let’s take a look at some bandwidth offerings from our Divi hosting partners (focusing on their starter plans):

  • Field ground: The host offers unlimited traffic on all of its plans. So however, it also clarifies that the StartUp plan can handle around 10,000 visits per month.
  • Pressable: With Pressable, you can get support for up to 5,000 visits per month with the Entry Basic plan.
  • Steering wheel: This managed WordPress host offers 20GB of bandwidth on its Tiny hosting plan.
  • Cloudways: With Cloudways, bandwidth offerings start at around 2GB and go up to 1TB (yes, a terabyte).

So, as you can see, the amount of bandwidth provided by web hosts can vary widely. In most cases, newly launched sites will not see any significant traffic. However, when your website gets thousands of hits per month, you may still want to upgrade to a better plan.

When looking for a starter hosting plan, your primary focus should be overall performance, quality of service, and available support. In addition, you should choose a host that makes your job as easy as possible; and as your website starts to grow, you may worry about bandwidth and other resources.

Why server bandwidth is important: Conclusion

The more, the better when it comes to bandwidth; however, when launching a new website, you may not need to pay for hosting plans with high bandwidth caps. It’s much better to upgrade your plan when your traffic increases, so you don’t have to pay for features you don’t use.

And if you use a reputable hosting provider, the bandwidth you get should not affect the overall performance of your website. So, it’s still a good idea to regularly monitor bandwidth usage; and use caching to reduce load times and resource usage for your visitors.