Bandwidth and Storage Explained: How much does my site really need?

Bandwidth and Storage Explained: How much does my site really need?

Hey there. You’ve probably come to Rebolt Web Services looking for hosting services for your small business website. You’ve probably come to the stumbling block of choosing packages. This is one of the most basic needs you require in order to have a website on the internet.

Should you pay for the most storage and bandwidth or the cheapest package offered? If you’ve reached this article because you’ve asked your search engine what your new site needs in terms of storage; how much bandwidth it may need, you’re about to have this sometimes confusing decision sorted out for you.

Understanding Storage

First, we need to make clear what storage and bandwidth actually are. Storage is just as is sounds. This is the digital space that your web host allows to you, based on your choice of packages offered, for the pages and media you add to your website.

Think of storage space as an actual trailer you’re looking to store physical things in. You estimate the space you need, select the size of the trailer that best suits that need, and you rent it out for a monthly fee. It works the same, in that regard to the storage offered from your web hosting service.

Bandwidth Decoded

Now, let’s take a turn at defining bandwidth. This can be confused with storage space but it is not the same. Bandwidth is more of a measurement of speed than it is a set amount of space to fill with files. Bandwidth measures the maximum amount of time it takes to transmit data over an internet connection, usually measured in Megabits per second (Mbps).

Think of bandwidth as a water drain or pipe. The wider the pipe, the faster the water will flow through said pipe. The higher the number, the better.

What Do I Need if My Website is New?

For a startup website, it can be difficult to gauge any exact figures to decide on which package your web host offers because you will essentially be going into the process with no point of reference. Keep in mind what functions your small business website will need. Think about the number of images and videos you have to use to achieve the goals set out for your website.

If you have the need for streaming, you will need to factor this into the decision of which package you choose. At this point, the necessary bandwidth required will be based on anticipated traffic to your site. Obviously, day one site traffic will make your site look like a wasteland, but don’t fret.

Give it a few months and a good amount of work to beef up the visits, and you will get a clearer picture of whether a plan change (up or down) with your web host is necessary. Although you don’t want to purchase or spend more than you need, you don’t want to get caught with less than you need either.

What If My Site is Established?

If your website is more established, there is a formula you can use to make it easier to determine which plan is best for your small business website needs. Pingdom’s Load Time test can get you started. Run the test on a few pages and take the average of your page sizes and performance. Use the figures as follows to decipher your needs:

  1. Gather the average page size of your site in kilobytes (KB).
  2. Multiply that figure by the monthly average number of visitors to your site.
  3. Multiply the answer from step two by the average number of page views per visitor.

Formula: (average page size x average monthly visitors) average page views = bandwidth needed

Another thing to keep in mind is that you will need to include all of your domains hosted on the server. You want to add up the total of all of these sites rather than calculating each individually. The figure that you come up with after completing your calculations is the ideal bandwidth you need to ensure that your small business website(s) run at the highest capacity.

This will help to keep load times in your visitors’ ideal range for your site(s), ensuring that your site visitors have a pleasant experience; quickly and effectively. They can get what they need, when they need it and will want to return because you’ve kept their needs in mind.

Can I Change Hosting Plans Should I Gain More Traffic?

You absolutely can upgrade or downgrade your chosen plan with your web hosting service according to the web host’s guidelines. However, to avoid that hassle, you can plan for the room you anticipate you’ll need as well as your small business website begins to gain more traffic and becomes more popular. The general rule of thumb: it is always better to overestimate and downgrade later than to underestimate and have your site perform poorly.

You will lose visitors that will not want to come back and will inevitably find what they are seeking elsewhere. While this may sound as if this is advice pointing you toward purchasing the most expensive package and adjusting as needed later, it really only means that you need to know what your small business website is intended to do.

If you need an abundance media files (audio, pictures, video, etc.), have many pages, intend to expand the scope of your site, or anticipate a large amount of traffic through your site, you may need a larger storage and bandwidth package from your web hosting company. If you plan on simply blogging, or intend to keep the site simple, you will be safe going with a smaller package.

What is the Ideal File Size a Website Should Be?  

This question can be answered by keeping the potential customers that will bring traffic to your site in mind. Though it is common now for a vast majority of internet users to have high-speed internet access, there are still some users that access the web via dial-up connection. In order to keep load times for all users reasonable, you will want to ensure that your average page size stays around 50-60KB (kilobytes).

This will keep the load time of each of your pages within the 5-8 second range on a dial-up connection. Any longer that time frame, even on a slower connection, visitors will leave your site for another. Broadband connections will be much faster, but that doesn’t mean you should push the limits of packing your site full of bells and whistles. Getting answers and information or purchasing products quickly and efficiently within a clean, simple layout is really all your visitors will care about.

Do I Need to Worry About Disk Space and Bandwidth?

In the larger scheme of things, especially for new websites, disk space and bandwidth is not a critical concern. What the major concern should be when choosing a web host is whether or not the host you choose allows you to upgrade or downgrade your package as needed. Given the fact that the hosting tiers come with a cost, you want to make sure that the numbers make sense for your business to pay more for the increased space and bandwidth.

You don’t want to be throwing money away by purchasing high without having the metrics to back up the decision. You also do not want to be locked into a plan with a host without the ability to modify it when you need to do so. In conclusion, given the information provided here, the decision for your small business website hosting plan is ultimately left up to you.

To come up with a defined number, you will need to do some calculations and monitoring of the traffic to your website over time. This will ensure that you can make informed decisions on what your small business website needs. Depending on the web host you choose, you may also be provided with tutorials on how to read and interpret your site analytics so that you can make the most of your website.

After all, these hosting companies do want to attain and retain your business. Aside from giving out their “secret formula”, hosting companies will provide you with the information you need to maintain full control over your business’ web presence.

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