What is Web Hosting Bandwidth?

The term “bandwidth” takes on a different meaning depending on the technology and topic being discussed. For instance, radio bandwidth refers to the numerical difference between the lower frequency and the upper frequency of an approximate set of frequencies which are measured in Hertz.

On the other hand, web hosting bandwidth is measured either in Megabytes (MB) or Gigabytes (GB). Web hosting bandwidth can be defined as the total sum of data that you can either upload or download from your web hosting server. The term “web hosting bandwidth” is also interchangeable with the term “data transfer” and its values are usually calculated on a monthly basis.

GreenGeeks VPS Hosting

GreenGeeks web hosting

Signing up for the most basic Virtual Private Server (VPS) package on GreenGeeks will supply you with a limit of 150GB bandwidth, which means that you can then transfer up to a maximum of 150GB of data every month.

Calculating Bandwidth Usage

Let’s assume that the total size of your entire site is 100MB (i.e. 0.09765625GB). After you’ve uploaded your page onto your hosting server, your original GreenGeeks 150GB bandwidth would now be depleted to 149.90235 GB (approximately) because you’ve just uploaded files to your hosting provider. Now that your website is up, let’s assume that your site is unique enough to draw in over 10,000 page views in that one month.

Each of these page views will cause data to be transferred from your web hosting server to the computer of the visitor, so a total downloaded file size of 97.65625GB for 10,000 page views would have occurred. Towards the end of the month, your original 150GB bandwidth would have dwindled down to 52.342773GB which still means that you’re doing OK in terms of operating your site within its broadband limits.

In the event that you do somehow manage to exceed your 150GB bandwidth, your hosting provider will temporarily shut down your website, not unlike how your phone conversation will be cut off the moment you run out of phone credit. Of course, having your site exceeding its web hosting bandwidth will also cause plenty of other problems that we will discuss later on.

Bandwidth Exceeded

A decent web hosting provider will dutifully notify their client the moment 80% of the web hosting bandwidth has been utilized. Said client can then choose between upgrading their hosting plan, buy additional bandwidth or do nothing and hope that their site does not surpass the maximum bandwidth allocated by the web hosting provider.

If you choose not to upgrade your hosting plan and your website crosses its web hosting bandwidth threshold, your site will be duly suspended until the first date of the next month and that means that no one on the Internet will be able to view your website until a new month comes along. It also means that you might be automatically charged with bandwidth overage!

Paying for over-usage charges can get pretty expensive, so a cheaper solution would be to pre-purchase an extension for your bandwidth limit. For instance, HostGator users who subscribe to the dedicated server plan will only have to top up 30 cents for each extra GB of extra bandwidth used. On the other hand, HostGator users who exceed their bandwidth limit will be charged 50 cents per GB of bandwidth overages, which is 60% costlier as opposed to paying for a bandwidth top up whenever your site is dangerously close to exceeding its bandwidth.

For those who are paranoid about being invoiced for exceeded bandwidth without sufficient warning, we suggest that you sign up for a web hosting provider that comes with a cPanel module known as mod_bwlimited. This module helps keep track of your bandwidth usage and is exclusively found on servers that run cPanel, which is also the control panel used by BlueHost, GreenGeeks and HostGator.

Exceeding Bandwidth is BAD…

Besides losing money, you also run the risk of losing potential followers or site visitors as no one would want to come to a website that has been suspended. If you’re running an online business on your website, you’ll probably also lose sales as no one is able to buy your product when your site has been shut down.

Worst of all would be the problem of your website losing its reputation as no respectable website owner should be poor enough to not afford a fair amount of web hosting bandwidth!

Benefits of Unlimited Bandwidth

Unlimited Bandwidth

Having said that, some web hosting providers offer unlimited bandwidth web hosting which is especially attractive for large websites or websites with a lot of traffic.

When you think about the term “unlimited bandwidth”, it’s easier if you connect that feature with the analogy of an all-you-can-eat buffet. The diners know that they are free to eat all the food at the buffet, despite the knowing fact that there isn’t exactly an endless supply of food coming out of the kitchen. Because the restaurant understands that these diners can eat to their hearts content and still leave plenty of leftovers behind, they daringly advertise their buffet as an all-you-can-eat.

The reason why these web hosting companies advertise their shared web hosting plans as plans that come with unlimited bandwidth is simply because it does wonders for a marketing campaign. Furthermore, most website owners will never use more than half of their allocated bandwidth either, meaning that their sites will never risk being shut down.

Signing up for a unlimited web hosting plan on a shared server is also much cheaper than signing up for a virtual private server or having your own dedicated server. For instance, GreenGeeks offers an unlimited bandwidth hosting plan for $4.95 per month on its shared server. On the other hand, the cheapest VPS hosting is billed at $19.95 per month for a maximum bandwidth of 150GB.

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Web Hosting Bandwidth In a Nutshell

Web hosting bandwidth can be easily confused with other bandwidth-related keywords. In this web hosting context, bandwidth simply refers to the maximum amount of data you can transfer from your web hosting server to another computer. If you have sufficient bandwidth, your website will be up and working on the web server. However, once you’ve exceeded your bandwidth, your website will be temporarily suspended and become inaccessible to your website visitors.

To prevent your site from being shut down, one can either pay for additional bandwidth or upgrade their web hosting plan. If you are a budding website owner, then it is highly recommended that you opt for the an unlimited web hosting plan as these hosting plans come a huge amount of bandwidth and you will never need to worry about bandwidth usage!