What is Bandwidth in Hosting Packages?

#1

Hi Everyone,
Different hosting companies provide different features, while most of them are self explanatory like Disk Space, Add on Domains, Ram and CPU. One of them still not quite clear for me, its the Bandwidth or as some call it "Monthly Traffic".

What does it mean in general?
And whats the difference between unmetered, unlimited and 500GB?

Lets assume in a day a site gets 100 visitors per day.
Each visitor loads 2mb per page in a 3 page website (total 6mb per user).
And a total of 600mb per day x 30 days = 18000mb (18GB) in a month.

How to apply above calculation to the Bandwidth allowed by the hosting company?
I believe understanding this would help webmasters chose the right hosting package.

Some even mentions "Port 1Gbps" as a feature.

Your thought will be appreciated :slight_smile:

#2

Bandwidth or Traffic refers to how much data can pass within a given time period.

For hosting, this is usually monthly.

500GB of monthly bandwidth means that your account can transfer 500GB of data with a given month.

So given your example, if you have a webpage that is 6MB in size (include the text, javascript, images, etc) and if you get exactly 100 visitors everyday that load that 6MB - then you are consuming 600MB of bandwidth every day. If you assume a month is 30 days, that would be 18000MB in a month or right at 18GB of bandwidth used in that month.

Port speed also plays a role in bandwidth. It is how much data can pass over a period of time. Usually when talking about port speed you're talking about a period of seconds.

A 1gbps port speed (note, gbps means gigabits per second, not gigabytes ... 8 bits are in 1 byte). A 1gbps port will max out at 324000000MB of transfer in a month (324TB). This is because 1gbps = 1000mbps = 125MB/s. There are 2592000 seconds in a month (30 x 24 x 60 x 60) and 125 x 2592000 = 324000000. This means that if you ran the port full for an entire month, you'd transfer 324TB of data. You cannot transfer any more than that in a month on a 1gbps port.

If you have a 40mbps home internet connection, then the most you can transfer in a 30 day month would be 12960000MB or 12.96TB. (This is also why cell phone companies throttle or deprioritize you on an unlimited plan, they can't really let you run the connection full throttle for an entire month... but I'm getting off topic here).

Port speed generally refers more to capacity than overall monthly bandwidth usage. If a server has a 1gbps port, then it can handle more connection simultaneously than say a 100mbps port, or a 10mbps port. The same is also true for your home Internet connection.

If streaming a movie at home takes 10mbps and you are streaming 3 different movies, that's 30mbps of your 40mbps connection. You only have 10mbps of bandwidth left to consume. If someone starts a video chat or starts downloading a large file, everybody's connection will start to degrade. Then suddenly your streaming movie only has 7mbps to use, thus degrading the quality of that stream or causing connection issues.

In a web hosting environment, if 10 people are downloading a 3GB file from the server, if the server only has a 100mbps port speed, then it will only be able to offer that file to those 10 people at a speed of 10mbps. If an 11th person chimes in to download the file, then everyone's speed will be less than 10mbps. Having a 1000mbps port speed just allows for greater capacity (especially since you likely won't be hosting files that are 3GB in size, but a video file can be that large and if you're streaming something, you're also downloading it).

Bandwidth in the hosting industry is largely inconsequential. Unless you are running a large video site or something with very large files, you will very likely not use 10GB of bandwidth in a month, let alone 100GB or even 500GB.

Unlimited and unmetered are mostly marketing terms meant to influence your decision. But most web hosting providers care very little about the amount of bandwidth their servers consume because they have plenty to go around, so rather than limit you based on bandwidth usage, they just offer unlimited.

But just like with unlimited disk space (since there's no such thing as an unlimited hard drive) there is always a limit even if it is marked as unlimited. The limitation will be based on the port speed, although most datacenters will stop you before you reach that upper limit.

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#3

Even though many web hosts provide unmetered bandwidth, after the limit of the bandwidth is crossed for any of the hosting services then the host costs for extra required bandwidth by the client. For example the unmetered bandwidth limit for shared hosting would be aroung 10 to 12 TB. After the limit crossed the clien needs to pay for extra bandwidth.

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#4

Thank you very much @sparek, this is one of the most detailed answers I have ever read.
This cleared the confusion I had. I will be running a Wallpaper site which in some way bandwidth costly if I get enough visitors.

Based on your answer, I see that choosing a limited bandwidth is better that "unlimited" or "unmetered" which mostly provided by Shared Hosting unlike VPS or Dedecated Servers where they specify how much traffic is allowed, so one can know if an upgrade or downgrade is needed on the hosting plan.

But again, Shared Hosting that provides "unlimited" or "unmetered" might accept a bandwidth of 1TB for cheaper price than VPS or Dedicated. only if they do specify, otherwise there is a risk they might charge for over-usage.

#5

Well, I really don't have a problem with hosting providers that sell "unlimited" bandwidth. But maybe that's because "unlimited" bandwidth can be computed if you know how fast the server's port speed is.

Chances are you are never going to approach any type of bandwidth limitation that a host might have (I suppose if they are hosting thousands of websites on a single shared hosting server, vastly overselling resources, they might hit a datacenter imposed bandwidth limit).

But if you are on a shared hosting server and your account alone is running up a huge bandwidth bill, then chances are you are also consuming a ton of CPU and Disk I/O resources, so you would be kicked off of shared hosting anyway.

Everybody went crazy in the web hosting industry a few years ago. Everything got to being about unlimited or absurdly high resource limits for as cheap as you can get it. This water down the whole industry. Used to you could compare a 10GB disk space / 100GB bandwidth plan, if that was selling for $1/mo you knew it was being oversold. If it was being sold for $10/mo you knew it probably wasn't. Now everybody sells everything for as little as possible because they have to compete with so many other hosts. But now it's hard to distinguish between who is overselling and who isn't. So finding a reputable host is anybody's guess. (Everybody oversells, everybody oversells with pretty much any service you buy. It's just at what level do they oversell that distinguishes good hosts from bad hosts. Is a host out there just to make a buck or are they out their to build their business?)

Generally, it's always best to start small. You can always upgrade to a larger plan if you need it. I would encourage you to keep a back up of your account in case you need to move hosts.

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#7

Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred when your client access the website and browse it once a particular visitor access the website a particular amount of data is being transferred and that data is called Bandwidth unmetered means that we do not measure that amount since it is not important for us how much bandwidth you use so it is basically unlimited here. You can get further detail through Siteground web hosting live chat. They are always helpful.

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