The topic of hosting involves many different aspects; reliability, customer support, pricing, add-on features, programming, and allowable installation of PHP and other popular marketing scripts.
Today, I’m going to focus on ONE topic, traffic, and the effects it has on your web site’s hosting. The simple one word answer here is ‘Bandwidth’.
By definition, Bandwidth is the measurement of data, and the speed at which it flows through the phone lines, cable or DSL lines to transfer information to and from a web site via your computer.
In relation to your web site hosting, Bandwidth measures this flow of data transfer, otherwise termed ‘Traffic’. In plain English, it’s the number of hits you receive to your site; pure volume multiplied by the file sizes included on your pages.
So, if you have an all text based web site, you would be able to receive more traffic, at lower bandwidth numbers, than you would if you have a ‘graphics’ intensive page, which would naturally have higher file sizes that are being transferred from your site to your visitor’s browser.
That’s great Ginger, but how does this effect my hosting?
Well, that depends on your host, and the package you sign up for. For example, most hosting services set an limit on the amount of bandwidth they include with your fee per month. Depending on the nature of your site, (graphics intensive vs. lower file sized pages), you should be able to predict how much bandwidth you will need.
Case in point; my design site is definitely what most would consider a *graphics intensive* web site! I can tell you that most of my pages there are over the recommended file size of 24kbs. From my stats logs, I can see that I receive upwards of 150,000 hits to my site before I reach a total bandwidth of 2GBs, which is usually the maximum limit you’ll find on lower scaled hosting packages.
If you know, or predict that you’ll see more hits than that in any given month, you may want to consider shopping for a hosting package that offers a higher maximum of bandwidth allowed per month.
Hosting companies that limit your bandwidth, charge an additional fee when you exceed your limits. The average additional cost I’ve found through my research is approximately $3USD per GB…
FYI= 1 GB = 1,000 MB
1 MB = 1,000 KB
So, if you have a bandwidth, (aka ‘data transfer’), limit of 2GB, that would equal approximately the same amount of data you can store on 3 CD’s. *whew*
For a more detailed explanation of byte measurements, read Figuring Out how Big a File is.
If you’re building your first web site, and have no idea how much traffic you will generate out of the gate, I would recommend starting with a basic web hosting package. As your site grows in popularity, and your traffic increases, you can always talk to your host about upgrading to a package with higher bandwidth limits.
From my own experience, brand new websites usually take about 3-6 months of solid promotion before bandwidth becomes an issue. Remember to use a host that provides in-depth statistics reports, and monitor your web site activity regularly. Watch for trends, and base your judgments on your results.
This article was originally written over five years ago, for my original “Web Design” site, and remains © 2009 GingerWench.com. Reprinting is allowed under these conditions.
The information is still relevant today, with a few updates listed below.
Bandwidth is not as much of a concern for hosting as it used to be. For example, Yahoo Hosting offers unlimited bandwidth for around $10/month. Godaddy, on the other hand, offers a variety of packages based on bandwidth and server space; you can host a small site there for around $5 every three months. However, unlimited bandwidth with Godaddy will cost you around $15/month.
I include hosting of your sites when you contract me for monthly site maintenance. When you contract with me to maintain your site on (at least) a monthly basis, I will host your site for you at no additional charge, with no bandwidth limits. If you don’t require my web site maintenance services, but I design your site for you, I will host your site for $10/month. Please note that I do not offer hosting for non clients.
After you contract me to do so, yes, I can move your site to my hosting or any hosting service of your choice. You will need to provide me the information required to do so, but please only do that once we’ve agreed to contractual terms. I prefer to work with sites that will be hosted on my server due to my familiarity with it’s functionality, and my confidence in it’s security and programming. My agreement to work with another host depends solely on my familiarity with them.