Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How Much Bandwidth You May Need For a Month?

updated on Oct 27, 2014
How Much Bandwidth You May Need For a Month? Bandwidth is the peak bit rate which measures the maximum throughput of a server in seconds in web hosting. It's different to data transfer which describes the amount of data transferred in/out of a website in a given period measured in gigabytes. As bandwidth is usually used to describe as monthly data transfer incorrectly, this article is written for clarifying the concept and helping you better understand the bandwidth to host your site.

Generally speaking, bandwidth matters in connection speed and page loading speed. And the poor bandwidth is one of main causes for a slow website especially when the website is hosted with a shared web server, even the client may have high-speed network connection. Hence it is important to have sufficient amount of bandwidth allocation for your website.

To calculate the bandwidth usage of your website, you need to take the following factors into consideration.

Is Unlimited Bandwidth True?

Most of web hosting providers advertise unlimited bandwidth but it's impossible and untrue in practice. The background story of unlimited bandwidth is that the web hosting providers are betting the fact that most of websites in shared web hosting only takes a little bandwidth. And with the bursting traffic of almost all hosting websites at peak time, bandwidth becomes the main bottleneck of website response speed rather than system resources consumption. Furthermore, with the strategic monitoring, the bandwidth for small websites cannot be dried up complete, then the bandwidth looks unlimited for them virtually.

Remember, fundamentally shared web hosting is just separating resources for hundreds of hosting account on a dedicated server. Even there is no guarantee of unlimited bandwidth for a dedicated server, how you can expect unlimited bandwidth from budget web hosting. And if you go beyond the limited bandwidth, you have to purchase additional bandwidth or transfer to a higher level plan with more allocation, or your website could be suspended or even shut down. Therefore, knowing clearly how much bandwidth you need will certainly help achieve a balance between your budget and bandwidth.

Unlimited Web Hosting Bandwidth Is Just Virtual

How Much Bandwidth does Your Website Use for a Month?

If you have already had a website with your host and don't know how much bandwidth your website usually uses, there is a way to calculate your estimated bandwidth. Before the calculation, you should be clear about several things, including:
  • The average page size of your website, in KB (If you do not know, you can use some tools like Pingdom to test a few pages and take the average.)
  • Average number of visitors on a daily basis.
  • Average number of page views per visitor.

Now the total bandwidth your website uses for a month should be:
  • Total = average page size x average daily visitors x average page views x number of days in a month.

Working out the result, you will get a rough estimation on the bandwidth needed for your website.

Let's take an example. If your website has pages with average 100 KB in size and 300 visitors a day with average 4 page views per visitor, the bandwidth your website is using is:

100 KB x 300 x 4 x 30 = 36,000,000 KB = 3.6 GB (When defining 1 GB = 1,000 MB)

In this case, this website requires a minimum of 3.6 GB bandwidth a month. Of course, if you have several websites on 1 account, you should calculate the bandwidth of each of your websites and then get a total number.

Note that this amount is only that your website is using, but not that you should ask your host to allot for your account.

How about a Website Allowing Downloads?

While simple web pages don't use up much bandwidth, the situation can be totally different with a website offering downloads. If you own a website allowing people to download music files, pdf files, videos or flash files, you will need a large amount of bandwidth even with a relatively small number of visitors.

For example, if your website has a music file that is 4 MB in size, with 2 GB bandwidth, you are only able to serve 500 downloads. Videos always use much more bandwidth because a video file could easily be over 100 MB in size.

The calculation for this kind of websites is almost the same as the way mentioned above, except that you need to consider the extra bandwidth for the download process.
  • Total = [average page size x average daily visitors x average page views + average file size x average daily downloads] x number of days in a month.

Therefore, what you plan to do with your website has the major impact on the monthly bandwidth you need.

What Is Redundant Bandwidth?

When deciding how much bandwidth you need, you should arrange 30% - 80% redundant bandwidth to leave the room for the website to grow. The more redundant bandwidth you have, the more capable your website is in dealing with the following cases:
  • traffic growth. as you add more posts and pages, your website will eventually grow, and the traffic, at the same time, will increase significantly, especially in the case that you add more domains to the website.
  • traffic spikes. it is inevitable that your website suffers unexpected traffic surge brought by things like social news sites and good search engine rankings. sufficient redundant bandwidth will keep your website online.

How to Optimize Your Website?

Apart from making use of redundant bandwidth,, you have to consider optimize your website for bandwidth if it requires over 10 MB by the above formula. Here are 5 quick tips for the optimization in a short period.
  1. Enabled GZIP, for HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other text based files.
  2. Merge multiple CSS files into a single one and compress and minify it by some tools.
  3. Minify the JavaScript files by some tools.
  4. Reduce the image size by the compression and loss of slight image quality.
  5. Combine images using CSS sprites. Downloading multiple images incurs additional round trips. The website contains many images can combine them into fewer output files to reduce latency.

How much bandwidth do you really need?

If your website only comes with simple web pages, you can simply sum up the bandwidth you need by adding a certain amount of redundant bandwidth to the bandwidth that your website is consuming. Usually, a shared web hosting plan is enough for your website, but once you find that your website is consistently slow, it is the time to switch the website over to a virtual private server (VPS).

Or if your website includes the download of lots of multimedia like music, video and flash, you may need a fairly large amount of bandwidth. In the case your website needs success, we would like to recommend you considering hosting your website on a dedicated server which always comes with several TB bandwidth a month.

In case that you are looking for a reliable web host to build a new website, we recommend BlueHost – a leading web hosting company with a series of products ranging from shared web hosting to dedicated server hosting. The bandwidth is rated in the top 5 of hundreds of web hosting providers, passed our 10 MB/minute page loading tests. Now, BlueHost offers all visitors going through this exclusive promotional link for the best price $3.95/mo of their unlimited PLUS plan. If you intend to learn more information, read BlueHost review here.