Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How Much Bandwidth You May Need For a Month?

updated on Jul 13, 2017
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.

Scale the Bandwidth

Note that this is a just an estimating result, and different website has the different situation. For example, if your peer site for referring has 4 pages, each of which comes to around 50KB. Besides, as monitored, there are 100 visitors go for that site in a day. In this case, the bandwidth needed every day is 40KB x 4 pages x 100 daily visitors = 16000 KB. However, you cannot regard this result as your daily bandwidth, but double or even triple the data due to the following aspects.
  • Website Customization - To beautify the overall appearance of the website and extend the functionality beyond the core WordPress installation, you may install a well-designed theme and many other needed plugins for customization. This will increase the size of your website, thus affect the bandwidth usage accordingly.
  • Room to Grow - If you are able to manage your website successfully with a large reader base that can increase unceasingly, then you’d better scale your bandwidth for growing traffic. Generally, the increased number of daily webpage views and daily file downloads can affect bandwidth greatly.
  • Add More - The typical content types for websites are blog posts and images, but you may want to add something new to your site, such as videos, music, flashes and some multimedia files, resulting in more bandwidth usage. In addition, with the development of the website, you may also want to add more pages or even sub/parked domains to enlarge the whole site for better popularity.
  • File Downloads - if you plan to add some files that are offered for readers to download, then you need the extra bandwidth for this process. For instance, if you have an audio file for downloading that is 100 MB, and have calculated the bandwidth need is 4.5 GB, then this file can only be downloaded for no more than 45 times. In this case, bandwidth scaling is inevitable.

Sudden Traffic Point - Sometimes, you may encounter a sudden traffic spike in a single month, which is caused by various reasons like social media marketing. In this situation, your bandwidth usage needs to double or even triple to deal with an enormous number of visitors.

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 and $2.95/mo for the Basic plan. If you intend to learn more information, read BlueHost review here.