Hosting a server uses bandwidth

How much hosting bandwidth do I need for my website?

When researching and choosing a web host to accommodate your domain, you need to consider the cost of the bandwidth required.

Yes, many providers offer "Unlimited" hosting plans, but on closer inspection you will find that unlimited isn't really unlimited - there are always penalties for using too much as it is based on "normal" usage, which is always means this. Knowing how much bandwidth your site actually needs can be some kind of art.

Web hosting bandwidth & data transfer

Bandwidth is essentially a term used to calculate the rate of traffic and data that is allowed to flow between users and your website over the Internet. The term "bandwidth" is often misused to describe "data transmission", but in reality the two are two different things.

What is data transfer?

Data transfer is the total amount of data that should be transferred in a given amount of time, usually in months.

What is website bandwidth?

Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted in a given amount of time, usually in seconds.

The number in "Data Transfer" tells you how much data you can transfer in a month. The number in “Bandwidth” indicates how fast the data can be transmitted.

Think of bandwidth as the width of a water pipe, where data transmission is the amount of water leaking from the pipe. How wide the pipe width (bandwidth) is, determines how fast water (data) can flow. Basically, data transmission is the consumption of bandwidth.

For website owners looking for a web host, the bandwidth provided by a hosting company can usually be a good indicator of that host's capabilities - the higher the bandwidth, the faster the speed. Network; Connectivity; and systems.

What about unlimited bandwidth / data transfer?

As mentioned earlier, many hosting organizations offer cheap hosting plans that include "unlimited bandwidth". For the buyer, this means that they can direct as much data and as much traffic to their website as they need without any upper limits. For the hosting provider, this means a way to give a buyer a flat fee that generally works.

As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Put simply, it's just impossible for hosting companies to offer unlimited bandwidth - it's too expensive to give unbridled access to every customer. However, most organizations fall into a “normal” range of bandwidth usage by default, and this range is used by hosting providers when creating their “unlimited” plans. "Unlimited" allows hosting providers to serve the majority of their customer base - but there is an absolute limit to the bandwidth that is included in those package costs. The trick is to know what it is.

By comparing the bandwidth actually required by your website with the bandwidth that is offered “unlimited” in this way, you can better determine at which hosting level you are really needed and whether a particular provider really meets your requirements.

How to calculate the bandwidth you need

Think of bandwidth like pants: you need the size you need. It doesn't make a lot of sense to buy up a size, but at the same point there is a number that fits. If your waist is a size 36 then you just don't fit this 32nd simple math.

How to calculate how much bandwidth you need

In terms of bandwidth, it doesn't make sense to buy anything either - that's why it makes sense to work with hosting providers who offer scalable solutions. Buying small ones will only get you into trouble. Know your real needs to get the service that's right for you - How to Calculate the Bandwidth Required:

  1. Estimate the average page size of your website in kilobytes (MB). *
  2. Multiply this average page size (in KB) by the average number of visitors per month.
  3. Multiply the result from step 2 by the average number of page views per visitor.

If you don't know, use Pingdom's Load Time Test on some pages and take the average of those tested pages for your base test number. Here are some real-world examples:

This is the basis of knowing what bandwidth you need - but you're not quite done yet. You will also need to add an allocation for additional "space" in case your traffic peaks increase. In general, I recommend a spread of at least 50 percent. However, you need to allow additional room for growth and traffic spikes - leave at least 50% tolerance.

Required website bandwidth + redundancy (without user downloads)

Use the following formula for this calculation:

Required bandwidth = average page views x average page size x average daily number of visitors x number of days in a month (30) x redundant factor

  • Average Daily Visitors: The total number of monthly visitors / 30.
  • Average Page Size: The average size of your website.
  • Average page views: The average page viewed per visitor.
  • Redundant factor: A safety factor ranged from 1.3 - 1.8.

Required website bandwidth + redundancy (with user downloads)

If your website doesn't use or allow downloads:

Required bandwidth = [(average page views x average page size x average daily number of visitors) + (average download per day x average file size)] x number of days in a month (30) x redundant factor

  • Average Daily Visitors: The total number of monthly visitors / 30.
  • Average Page Size: The average size of your website
  • Average Pageviews: The average number of visitors per visitor
  • Average File Size: The total size of the files divided by the number of files
  • Redundant factor: A safety factor ranged from 1.3 - 1.8.

Does the bandwidth play a role?

Yes and no.

The bandwidth calculation is important when developing an application for the general public or trying to cut hosting costs.

However, bandwidth / data transfer numbers shouldn't be an important factor when choosing a web host - especially if you're just starting out.

Bandwidth (data transfers) and storage space are hardly a meaningful comparison factor for hosting buyers in today's marketplace - especially if you're new.

If you check this out, almost all shared hosting providers offer "unlimited" storage and data transfer. While the term "unlimited" is just a marketing gimmick; Web hosting users are often given more than enough capacity in terms of storage and data transfer bandwidth. In most cases, server RAM and processing power will limit the use of an unlimited hosting account.

When looking for a web host, you will learn more about things to consider when choosing a web host.

About Jerry Low

Founder of (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and useful by 100,000 users. More than 15 years of experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing and SEO. Contributor to,,, and others.