Web Hosting Bandwidth: Everything You Need to Know

What is web hosting bandwidth, you ask? The term is typically listed after the self-explanatory storage space when comparing hosting plans, but bandwidth seems far more complex and difficult to understand. Well, we’re here to simplify things: how familiar are you with rush-hour traffic? You can think of bandwidth as you would the lanes of a highway; each car represents the web traffic coming to your site. Overcrowded roads lead to long delays and frustrated drivers, while too many lanes are exorbitantly expensive and tough to maintain. Either option can have a dramatic route on your visitors’ happiness, as well as your site’s overall success.

What is Web Hosting Bandwidth?

As we mentioned in the introduction, web hosting bandwidth represents the amount of data that can be transferred in a unit of time. In web hosting, we’re talking about the transfer between a website, a user, and a server. It is expressed as MB/s or GB/s.

It’s important to understand the distinction between bandwidth and data transfer. With bandwidth, we’re talking about the rate of transfer – the amount per unit of time, usually MB per second or GB per second. With a transfer, we’re only referring to the actual amount of data alone.

Web hosting bandwidth can be compared to a pipe or a hose. With a small hose, it will take longer for an amount of water to be poured out. If you have a larger hose, you can pour out more water faster.

It’s the same with web traffic. Lower bandwidth means slower transfer and, logically, higher bandwidth means faster transfer, faster page loading, file uploading, and downloading.

You may have noticed that some websites take longer to load compared to the others that you’re visiting with the same internet connection. This is because some websites have hosting plans with lower bandwidth and are therefore not able to serve the data to the visitors as fast as other websites, with higher bandwidth.

web hosting bandwidth

Why is Bandwidth important for Web Hosting?

More bandwidth means that your website will be able to receive additional visitors. On the other hand, if you go over your bandwidth limit, web hosts might limit access to your website or throttle its performance. In some cases, you may need to pay overage charges to compensate for the excess traffic.

 Having a larger bandwidth available for your website is always the better option. However, bandwidth tends to be one of the key factors in determining hosting plan prices. That means you need to consider how much traffic you’re really going to get, instead of simply opting for the plan with the highest bandwidth limits, or you may end up overpaying.

 It’s also important to note that you can consume bandwidth from your hosting plan by using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and email services. If your bandwidth usage seems too high for how much traffic your website is getting, it might be a result of using FTP to upload and download files.

How much bandwidth do I need?

Unlike storage space, which is relatively easy to manage, bandwidth is a less adjustable component of web hosting. That’s why it’s important to find a plan with just the right amount — get too much, and you’re likely paying too much. Don’t get enough, and your website will suffer.

Most personal or small websites don’t consume enough bandwidth for you to really be concerned. However, if your online presence is more established or starting to take off, you should figure out how much computing power you’ll need. Fortunately, there’s a pretty simple formula for determining how much bandwidth your site consumes; bandwidth is calculated by multiplying these factors together:

  • Average number of visitors each day
  • Average size of a page on your website, in kilobytes
  • Average number of pages viewed by each visitor
  • 31 days in a month

The product will be the expected bandwidth consumed for the month, in kilobytes (divide by 1,000,000 to see how many gigabytes you’ll use). If you intend to allow people to download files from your site, you’ll also want to multiply the average daily number of downloads and the average file size and add that number to your total. We also recommend multiplying your bandwidth estimate by roughly 1.5 to give yourself some wiggle room.

What happens if I exceed my web hosting bandwidth?

If you’re exceeding your monthly bandwidth allowance, then usually one of the three things happens: the host may suspend your website, they can charge you overage fees, or they simply auto-upgrade your plan to the next version, so you have more bandwidth.

web hosting bandwidth

How can I reduce my bandwidth?

If you aren’t quite ready to upgrade your hosting package, then you may want to consider reducing your site’s bandwidth. You can do this by compressing images and reducing the size of large downloads/videos on your site.

You’ll also need to think about enabling compression from HTTP, CSS, and JavaScript by using a caching plugin. You can also have your static content stored on a (CDN) Content Delivery Network near your audience which can reduce your server load.

If you’ve outgrown the bandwidth limits of your existing hosting plan, then you may want to consider upgrading to a VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, or cloud hosting package.

We hope this article helped you understand what is bandwidth and how much bandwidth you need for your website.


Web hosting bandwidth is an important factor to consider when choosing a hosting provider. If you’re only just starting and don’t have hosting yet, try to estimate the amount of traffic you can expect in the beginning but don’t forget about scaling. You need hosting that is scalable, i.e. hosting that leaves enough room for your website to grow.

If you already have a package that doesn’t fit your bandwidth needs, if your website is slow to load and your traffic is starting to suffer, then it’s probably time to change the plan, perhaps even the provider.


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