- Getting Started
- Free Stuff
Web Hosting - Transfer Rates Or Bandwidth
Written by David Dugan (edited by Lynne Hand)
So, you have your domain name and you have designed a website or had a website built for you. Now what?
Well, of course you need hosting. A lot of people want to start a business online but are not aware of some of the basics like how people are able to view or visit their website.
What is web hosting?
Right now, if you have already built your website, all of those files are on your computer. People who are surfing the web don’t have access to your computer, therefore cannot find your website. Advanced users know they can turn their computer into a server where people are actually coming to their computer to view their website, however, this is not recommended and certainly not recommended for someone who is not very advanced as a computer security technician.
There are computers that are set up to be servers. These are called host computers, to simplify things. You need to upload your website files to the host computer so they can make it available for others to view on the web. This is the service we call web hosting.
Will any web host do?
No. This is a common misunderstanding about web hosting. All web hosts are not created equal. There are many different levels of web hosting and many different plans and packages to consider. There are also many other things you have to consider when choosing a web hosting company. Let’s go over one of the most important issues when choosing a web hosting plan to help you understand better.
A lot depends on your individual needs. Will your website have a lot of graphics and images? Will it have movies? Music downloads? Software or other downloads? Or is it a very simple and compact website that is mostly text? Do you expect a lot of traffic to your website?
The reason for all those questions is something called “bandwidth” or “transfer”. The amount of storage space a web-hosting plan offers you is usually far less important than the amount of transfer or bandwidth the web host offers you.
Every time someone visits your webpage, every file included in that webpage is downloaded from your website to their computer. In other words, from the web host’s computer to the visitor’s computer. This includes each graphic or image on the page, every icon, even the html page itself is downloaded by a user just visiting your webpage. The size of each of those files being transferred to the visitors computer is the amount of “transfer” or “bandwidth” you are using.
Let’s say you get 100 visitors per day to your website. Let’s also say that your html page is around 15k and you have 5 images on that webpage that altogether are around 50k. That means each visitor to your website is using up 65k in bandwidth every time they visit that page. Let’s also say your average visitor opens 3 pages within your website and those pages are the same size as your main page. That means each visitor uses 195k minimum and that is if they don’t keep going back to your main page.
Multiply that 195k times the 100 visitors per day you get and you are using 19,500k or a little over 19 megabytes of transfer per day. Multiply that by 30 days and you get 585,000k or 585 megabytes of “transfer” or “bandwidth” used per month.
Now if your web hosting plan allows for more bandwidth than you think you will need, then you know you are okay. However, make sure you know upfront what the cost of going over your allotted bandwidth is. Some webhosts charge a lot for every megabyte you use over the limit they set for you in the plan you chose. It’s a good idea to pick a webhosting plan that is just one step above the one you think you need to allow for growth. You might become very popular like a rock star overnight!