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Web Hosting Bandwidth Explained

Are you looking to start your own website but are confused over the issue of web hosting bandwidth? Fear not, you don’t need the mind of Al Gore to understand the Internet. Let’s break down what bandwidth means and how much you really need.

Bandwidth refers to the amount of traffic between your website and the rest of the Internet that your provider allows. Obviously, if things were so simple there would be no restrictions on bandwidth. However, your provider will only be able to offer you as much bandwidth as allowed by their own network connections. The Internet is not a godlike being with unlimited omniscience. Rather, it refers to the connection of millions of individual computers that are connected by networks. These individual connections may be large or small, depending on each user’s equipment. However large or small your provider’s connections are will ultimately determine how much bandwidth is available to the user for his or her future Web project. The provider must have enough bandwidth to serve your needs while also serving the rest of their clients.

Some Internet experts have compared bandwidth to "highways" for cars and trucks. Bandwidth could be thought of as the number of lanes on the highway. It’s not the same thing as the total traffic (which would be the cars) but is directly related to the flow of traffic. The total number of highways would determine the flow of traffic, either how slow your commute was yesterday morning or how quickly you traveled. In like manner, you could consider traffic to be the number of bits that will be transferred on the network connections. The speed of one’s searching or downloading will be directly affected by how many other people are likewise using those connections.

Understanding the basics of bandwidth still doesn’t help you determine what you need for your business. So what is the answer? How much bandwidth do you need? There is no definite answer, sorry folks. The truth of the matter is that how much bandwidth you need is tied in with your business vision, how successful your launch will be, and other important marketing factors. The more money you are willing to pay your host provider, the more bandwidth you will have. That means you can accommodate more customers.

If you over-guess the bandwidth you need, you will be paying top dollar for empty lanes on a deserted highway. If you under-guess, then you will be stuck with two small lanes for a whole city’s worth of morning traffic! Just know that most people over-guess rather than under-guess. Phenomenal openings that test the bandwidth of an emerging company are rare. Most small businesses, even ones with moderate traffic, will probably not use more than 1GB of bandwidth, unless of course they have tons of video content or audio downloads.

Remember that if you go over your bandwidth limits, your hosting company will probably charge you extra or block the site completely. You can see how in this case careful research will pay off.

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