If you are choosing a web hosting plan, then you will come across terminologies such as website bandwidth, data transfer, etc. People get confused between website bandwidth and data transfer and often use them interchangeably, which is technically incorrect. Website bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can be transferred at any given moment and data transfer is the total data transferred over a period.

Let’s understand what is website bandwidth and how can you calculate bandwidth usage easily before deciding on a web host or a web hosting plan.

What is website bandwidth?

Whenever you enter the URL of a site and press enter, the request goes to the web server, and the server sends back the site data in the form of web files. The web browser presents these web files in a presentable way, which is also called website.

The process involves back and forth data transfer and a few seconds for the overall execution. Website bandwidth is the maximum amount of data transfer that happens at any given moment between a user and a site. Usually, this is measured in seconds. In simple words, website bandwidth is the rate of data transfer.

So, ideally, a high website bandwidth can assure fast loading of the site.

How come a cheap web hosting plan is offering unlimited bandwidth?

High bandwidth is no joke as it requires a good infrastructure. Even, one of the best premium plans cannot offer you unlimited bandwidth in a real sense.

Whenever you see a cheap shared hosting plan is offering you unlimited bandwidth, remember that there could be several other factors which could put a cap on the unlimited plan.

For example, there could be limited on CPU usage time per day. Therefore, it is must for you to read everything nicely before selecting a web hosting plan. Talk or chat with customer care and explain your requirements in detail. They cannot cheat you on your face and may suggest you optimal plan per your needs.

Why is website bandwidth necessary?

If the website bandwidth is not huge, then your website will take more time to load. It does not matter if the user has a fast internet connection. Sometimes, the website loading might take time out.

In the current times, more load time of a website results in loss of users and revenue. Similarly, you require a reasonable data transfer limit on top of a decent bandwidth. Otherwise, you will reach your maximum limit of data transfer, and your site will not open.

What is the difference between website bandwidth and data transfer?

Data transfer is the total amount of data transferred over a period. Usually, this period is a month. You can understand this with an analogy of a tunnel. Bandwidth is the measure of the number of vehicles that can pass through this tunnel at any given point in time.

If the tunnel is more wide and big, then more vehicles can pass through. Whereas, data transfer is the total number of cars which could pass through this tunnel in a month.

It means that alone bandwidth is not sufficient to meet your needs. You should exactly know the data transfer requirement by looking at your website size and the total number of traffic per day.

Website bandwidth usage calculator

Now that you know the importance of website bandwidth, it is vital to calculate your website requirement. The calculation will provide you with a rough estimation. You require following details for the bandwidth calculation.

  • Daily visitors expected on your website
  • The average page size of your website
  • Total page views by each visitor

If you do not know the size of your site page size, then head to Pingdom Tools and pick an average size of your web pages based on a few tests. The total page view is also a rough estimation. It is suggested that you choose a number on the higher side.

Total website data transfer = total number of daily visitor x average page size x total page view by each visitor x 31 days

Let’s create a scenario with some random figures. Suppose you have a website where the average page size is around 60 KB (Kilobyte). Total of users visiting your website is 100. Also, each user on average read 3 pages per visit. So, the total website data transfer would be –

Total website data transfer = 100 x 60 x 3 x 31 = 558,000KB/month or 0.558GB/month

Here, I would suggest you use a multiplication factor in the above calculation to estimate some buffer to meet traffic spikes which might come your way. Anything between 20% and 40% would be good for a start.

So, now the above calculation would become –

Total website data transfer = 100 x 60 x 3 x 31 x 1.4 = 781,200 KB/month or 0.78 GB/month