Bandwidth is a term that has several different meanings depending on the situation in which it is used. When talking about bandwidth as far as Web Hosting is concerned, it refers to the quantity of data that transfers into and out of your web hosting account. Data coming in can comprise requests for web pages, email, FTP requests, and FTP uploads, whereas outgoing data comprises file transfers, web pages, and email. Each hosting account is given a certain amount of bandwidth each month. General figures for bandwidth range from 3 GB for small private sites to up to 200 GB for large business systems.
Determining how much bandwidth you actually need depends on the amount of traffic your website receives as well as the information it contains. Web pages consisting of text and a few pictures can be very small in size but if you get lots of visitors every day you could need a lot of bandwidth. However, website content consisting of downloadable files such as music, software, or video can be much larger in size. Therefore, even if you have low incoming traffic, you could need some extra bandwidth.
If you want to calculate the amount of bandwidth you need, all you have to do is calculate the size of the content which you can download and multiply it by the number of visitors you get each month. Afterwards, add to that the number of emails sent and received and other content such as FTP uploads. You should come up with an accurate number, because not every visitor to your site will download each file or view every page. So you’ll have some margin to play with.
As your web site develops and as you start getting more traffic you may have to increase your given bandwidth accordingly. It will be better for you to plan ahead and get a larger hosting package rather than wait until you go over your given limit. Check with your hosting company to see what their policies are as far as exceeding bandwidth is concerned. Some companies will allow you to go over the limit by a certain amount whereas others will shut your site down and request that you upgrade your account before your site is fully functional again. That is why it is always better to keep track of the amount of bandwidth you are using and anticipate in advance when you need to upgrade your site.
If you feel that your bandwidth is sufficient and would rather not upgrade you may have some traffic ‘throttle’ if you have approached your monthly limit. Some hosts offer this service as a method towards limiting incoming requests or to exclude further requests once a certain number has been attained.
There are many options for throttling. You can specify an idle time between requests in order to limit the number of incoming requests. This will cause incoming requests to be deferred for a specified amount of time if there are too many arriving at the same time. Another option is to impose a data transfer limit within a certain time period, or, to limit the amount of requests for a certain file. The transfer speed can also be restricted at a certain level. However, if you depend on web traffic for your business, throttling may not be the best idea. If your pages are not fast enough loading or if users can’t access files they have been looking for, they might turn away to another site. However, if you have a large amount of free content, throttling can prove useful in order to keep your hosting budget within a certain limited amount.
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