Categories Web Technology

What is bandwidth and what website elements use it up?

Bandwidth is the amount of Data, measured in GigaBytes, that can be transferred (downloaded) from your web space each month.

This means if one visitor downloads a 4MB Music File, for example, from your website (public_html folder) it will cost you 4MB in bandwidth. So if ten visitors download the 4MB Music File, or one visitor downloads the 4MB Music File ten times, either way it will cost you 40MB of bandwidth in total. However. It is not that simple because each web page viewed also costs bandwidth. For example. If you have a Music Product Web Page that consists of 1MB of Introduction Text and 1MB of Music Pictures it will cost you 2MB of bandwidth each time that Music Product Web Page is viewed (downloaded into one visitor’s web browser, from your public_html folder into their computer). And each time a visitor views (downloads) the 2MB Music Product Web Page and then downloads the 4MB Music File it will cost you, another, 6MB of bandwidth. Times that by ten visitors and it will cost you 60MB of bandwidth in total.

So when choosing a Web Hosting Package you should first calculate how many visitors you expect to visit your website per month (i.e. 1,000). Then you assume each visitor will view every web page at least once. Let’s say you have ten web pages making up your website that use 1MB of bandwidth each. So 10MB of bandwidth usage. That means 1,000 visitors viewing 10 web pages each (using 10MB of bandwidth each), which is the equivalent of 10,000 web pages being viewed (downloaded), would require 10,000MB of bandwidth. Or put another way, 10GB of bandwidth. 1,000MB is approximately equivalent to 1GB. In reality, unless you have a “Downloads” website, each web page should not use up 1MB of bandwidth at all. So you should get more like 1,000 visitors using only 1GB of bandwidth, which is the equivalent of 1 visitor using 1MB of bandwidth to view (download) your whole website. In turn, 5GB (5,000MB) of bandwidth should be able to accommodate approximately 5,000 visitors. Remember. This is based on each visitor viewing your whole website (every single web page). If your average visitor only views five web pages then you will accommodate twice more visitors of course.

So far you have calculated 1MB of bandwidth usage per visitor, per view of your whole website. However. You should be aware that it is not only your visitors who are using your bandwidth.


The Search Engines  Search Engines not only scan your website (public_html folder) looking for words/phrases, email addresses and other information, from within your web pages, in order to list it but they also store (CACHE – pronounced: cash) a copy of your web pages on their server. This is so that the general public can view those cached (stored) web pages when your Web Hosting Provider’s server (computer) is not allowing your website to be viewed, perhaps because you ran out of bandwidth and/or because their server has temporary problems for example.

The CPanel  Your CPanel (Website Control Panel) might not be available to you, depending on the terms & conditions of your web hosting package/provider, if you run out of bandwidth. This is because certain operations you carry out using your CPanel involve bandwidth. Downloading your email, from your web space into Windows Mail or Outlook Express for example. Downloading files using the File Manager control panel or a FTP Account. And so on.

Website Linkers  Websites that make a link to one or more of your web pages will be using your bandwidth indirectly whenever that link is clicked on. For example. If your website is and you have a web page called products.html, any website linking to your product web page ( is inviting its users/visitors to click on that link and therefore directly visit your product web page. This means those users/visitors will be downloading the content (text, images, video, music and so on) of your product web page and more importantly be using your bandwidth. This may seem fine, because you want other websites linking to your web page(s) in order to make your website more well known, but the downside of this is too much traffic (too many websites linking to your web pages, bringing too many visitors who use up your bandwidth).

Too much traffic can become a problem if you have a FREE Video Download link in your product web page for example (i.e. that too many websites are recommending and linking to. For example. When you get one visitor clicking on your FREE Video Download link, who originally came from a recommended website link or directly from your own website, that free video (file) download should not use up too much of your bandwidth. Especially if the video (.wmv file) is reasonably small (i.e. 10MB or less – Approximately 5 Mins or less). The problem arises when you get a couple of hundred visitors clicking on your FREE Video Download link. That is when bandwidth becomes your nightmare and enemy.

Curious Visitors  With too much traffic comes too many “Curious Visitors”. These are visitors who are just curious to know “What is your website all about?”, “Who are you?” and “What can your website do for me?”. There is nothing wrong with them, because they are the same visitors who might become “Regular, Buying, Visitors” one day and/or spread Word-Of-Mouth about your website, it is just that while they are curious visitors they remain “Bandwidth Users” or “Bandwidth Guzzlers!!” as well. In fact, they do help to get your ratings up with the Search Engines so they are not all bad!! The only way to effectively get rid of them though, if you are struggling with your bandwidth, is to introduce some sort of membership scheme to your website.

Blogs and Forums  Before someone can view a blog post (article) or forum post (message) in their web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer) the content (i.e. text) of that post has to be downloaded first, from your website (public_html folder) onto their computer. This means some of your bandwidth is used in the download process. As explained at the beginning of this section, this type of bandwidth cost applies to any web page that needs to be viewed and any file that needs to be downloaded.

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