Unlimited Bandwidth – Is Data Transfer Critical
Bandwidth limits vary considerably between hosting services and those limits can prevent your customers from visiting your website and, as a result, cost you potential sales.
For example, if you choose a hosting service for your website that does not allow unlimited bandwidth or data transfer, or sets the limits very low, and you exceed their data transfer allowance for any month, you will effectively be shut down for the rest of the month.
Data transfer is the total amount of information your viewers download anytime they visit your website. The web servers on your hosting service send the pages requested by your visitors directly to the visitor’s computer through their browser. That transfer can include, besides the actual web page being viewed, any videos, software, audio files, etc.
This does not mean that the visitor has to actually download the web pages or videos, like downloading an ebook, for example. Anything that can be viewed on your website is physically being transferred to your browser on your hard drive before you can view it. That is data transfer.
People new to hosting services often confuse bandwidth with transfer. They are often used interchangeably, but they are different processes for the same act of sending information from your web page to the visitor’s computer. Bandwidth is your server’s capacity for this transfer.
When you are uploading your web pages, with graphics, text and videos, for example, that data transfer from your computer to the host server does not count against your monthly data transfer quota.
Once your website is designed and you have all the content in place and are ready to upload to a server, you need to decide how much transfer you are going to need before selecting a hosting service.
You will have to know if your website is for personal or business use. How many visitors do you expect on a normal month? Are you using large multimedia files, like videos and photographs?
Here’s how to measure data transfer for a one-page website. Let’s say your one-page site is 25KB in size; that’s 25,000 characters. You’ve got two pictures on the page, one of your storefront and one of your most popular product. The store front picture is 30KB and the product is 20KB. Add those three figures together: 25KB + 30KB + 20KB = 75KB of total data transfer.
If your page is viewed 50 times on one day, you will show 3,750KB or
3.75MB of usage that day. Use your estimated figures to determine how much you might need in a month.
To be safe, try to find a host like Hostmonster that allows unlimited bandwidth/transfer. If you cannot find one, don’t settle for less that one Gigabyte, which is more than enough for most websites. You have to keep in mind that your actual data transfer totals might start out low, but are likely to grow rapidly as your marketing efforts succeed in promoting your site.