What Is Web Hosting Bandwidth? Understanding Bandwidth for Website Owners

When selecting a new web host, one of the most important factors you’ll have to consider is the amount of bandwidth that will be included in your plan. 

If you’re unsure of what web hosting bandwidth is or how much bandwidth your website will need, keep reading. This guide will explain how website bandwidth works and help you estimate your ideal bandwidth allowance.

What we’ll cover:

  • What web hosting bandwidth is
  • Why you need to think carefully about choosing a bandwidth plan
  • How to determine which bandwidth plan suits your needs

What Is Website Bandwidth and Why Is It Important?

So, what is web hosting bandwidth? Bandwidth refers to the rate at which data is allowed to flow between your website and your visitors. 

It can be useful to visualize bandwidth as a sieve. Your website data is water, and your client is the cup. The wider the opening at the bottom of the sieve, the faster the rate at which the water will travel into the cup. 

In other words, the bigger your bandwidth, the faster the loading times for your clients.

Bandwidth is not to be confused with data transfer. Data transfer refers to the amount of data that can be transferred, while bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred within a specific time frame

The Measurement of Bandwidth

Bandwidth is usually measured in Gbps, or billions of bits per second. The more bits per second, the faster your content will load. In some cases, slower bandwidth rates may be measured in Mbps, or megabits per second. 

What Is Web Hosting Bandwidth’s Importance?

Now that we’ve covered what web hosting bandwidth is, let’s discuss what makes it so important. If you want to maximize loading times and minimize hosting costs, bandwidth is definitely something you should consider carefully.

According to Neil Patel, 40% of internet users abandon a webpage after just three seconds of loading time. And for eCommerce customers, 47% expect load times of less than two seconds. Essentially, no one has the time to wait around staring at a loading screen.

Optimizing your loading times can also help your website rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs), as Moz points out. Google, for instance, tends to favor websites with a two-second loading time or less.

Optimizing your bandwidth plan can help you to maximize loading times. A website that loads quickly offers an excellent user experience and performs well from a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint. 

Bandwidth becomes an especially important factor during peak times when your website has abnormally high numbers of simultaneous visitors. With a higher bandwidth rate, you’ll be able to include high-quality, dynamic content without running the risk of your website crashing or failing during these peak times.

How To Estimate the Best Bandwidth Amount for Your Website

Every website will have slightly different requirements when it comes to bandwidth. Factors such as average webpage size, average monthly visitors, and average file size will all affect your bandwidth needs. 

For instance, a new website with relatively few visitors and small page sizes won’t require as much bandwidth as a larger website.

So, you might be asking, “How much bandwidth do I need for my website?” In order to calculate an estimate of your bandwidth requirements, you’ll need to collect the following information:

  • Average page size
  • Average monthly visitors
  • Average daily visitors
  • Average page views
  • Redundancy

Redundancy is a set figure included to account for unexpected traffic spikes. Think of redundancy as a safety net. This figure is typically between 1.3 and 1.8. 

A simple calculation for determining your necessary bandwidth is:

INSERT: Design Pickle Image

Average page views x average page size x average daily visitors x 30 x redundancy

Most webpages are composed primarily of HTML text with a few images or videos. The average webpage size is 2,080 KB (kilobytes), or almost 3 MB (megabytes), according to HubSpot

If you can’t find the size of your webpages in your metrics, try using the Pingdom Website Speed Test to quickly ascertain the size of each page. 

Examine your traffic reports on your cPanel to determine your average monthly visitors. According to Forbes, a successful website might receive 20,000 unique monthly visitors, while a new website might get fewer than 1,000.

Divide your average monthly visitors by 30 to determine your average daily visitors. For instance, if you had 3,000 monthly visitors, you’d have an average daily visitor rate of 100.

Finally, analyze your traffic metrics to determine the average number of page views per visitor. Most visitors will visit several pages on your website before leaving. For this example, let’s say they visit an average of three.

Using these numbers, your monthly bandwidth usage would be: 

3 x 3 MB x 100 x 30 x 1.5 = 40,500 MB

So, using these numbers, you would need 40,500 MB or 40.5 GB (gigabytes). 

If this calculation is confusing, try using a website bandwidth calculator to get a rough estimate of your average bandwidth needs.

The Most Common Bandwidth Plan Options

When you search for a web hosting provider for your website, you’ll need to consider the host’s various bandwidth plans. You’ll find that some hosts offer “unlimited bandwidth” options. 

Unlimited Bandwidth

Unlimited bandwidth is a hosting plan that doesn’t place any limits on your website’s bandwidth rates. While this may sound like the best possible option, in reality, it’s a little more complex.

In truth, it isn’t possible to have completely unlimited bandwidth. There is always a maximum on speed capabilities, so web hosts do place limits on bandwidth, even with unlimited plans. 

If there’s an unexpectedly large spike in traffic on your website, you may still find that it can’t support all of your visitors. 

At Bluehost, we offer plans with “unmetered bandwidth.” Unmetered bandwidth means you will receive a set amount of bandwidth, but you’ll be able to transfer as much data as you want within that rate. 

While your server speed will be limited, the amount of data that can be processed is unlimited with unmetered bandwidth. 

Other Common Bandwidth Types

If you aren’t in need of unmetered bandwidth, most web hosts provide hosting with various Gbps options. 

The majority of websites don’t require unmetered bandwidth. In fact, according to Hosting Manual, 99% of websites use less than 5 GB of bandwidth each month. That’s why you’ll come across plenty of hosting options that offer specific bandwidth limitations. 

Common bandwidth options include:

  • 1 GB: This is one of the lowest bandwidth limits you’re likely to find. If you’re a brand new company or blog and plan to start small, this option will probably suit you.
  • 2 GB: This is a slightly larger option that would work for a website with a small but consistent following or a small website with high-level graphics and flash files.
  • 10 GB: This is a good option if you know that your website will attract relatively high levels of traffic. 

Here’s a guide to choosing the best Bluehost plan for your needs:

What Is Web Hosting Bandwidth Usage?

Because different websites require different bandwidth limits from their hosts, you may find that your bandwidth needs change over time.

If you’re wondering whether you currently have enough bandwidth on your plan, it’s fairly simple to check your current bandwidth usage. 

If you’re a Bluehost customer, simply log in to your Bluehost cPanel, head to the Statistics page, and click Bandwidth to find what the web hosting bandwidth is on your plan.

Increasing or Decreasing Your Bandwidth

If you use Bluehost, it’s easy to upgrade or downgrade your account to increase or decrease your bandwidth limit. Just follow these instructions.

Most web hosts should make it easy for you to add additional bandwidth in emergencies or change your plan as your website grows.

Optimizing Your Bandwidth Usage

Overuse of bandwidth is one of the most common website issues. If you think your website is using more bandwidth than it needs to, there are several things you can do to get things moving quickly again. 

  • Use an external host for images and other graphics. Keeping images and videos on an external server means that you’ll keep your average page sizes down. 
  • Compress your images. If you do want to keep your images on the same server, compress them to reduce their size.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) to host content. You can also host other content externally using a CDN.
  • Monitor your bandwidth usage as your website grows. As you continue to grow your audience and your website, keep an eye on your bandwidth usage to ensure that new additions to the website aren’t eating away at it.

Optimizing your website’s bandwidth will help you keep costs down while ensuring your customers happy. We hope this guide has helped you learn what web hosting bandwidth is and given you some insights into your website’s bandwidth usage.

Bluehost offers high-quality hosting for your WordPress website. With unmetered bandwidth options, our hosting plans serve websites of all sizes. 

Discover our various plans to get started today. 

Desiree Johnson
Desiree Johnson | Content Specialist
Desiree Johnson is a Content Specialist at Bluehost where she writes helpful guides and articles, teaches webinars and assists with other marketing and WordPress community work.

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