Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004
You just received a higher than normal monthly bill on your
credit card for web hosting. Your hosting company explains
that you exceeded your monthly minimum for “bandwidth
usage” and suggests reducing the size of your web site
What is bandwidth usage?
What does bandwidth mean?
How much bandwidth do you need?
How can you reduce bandwidth usage?
Let’s discuss each of these topics in more depth.
What is “bandwidth usage?”
This refers to the total amount of information that has been
served to your web site visitors each month. Every file on
your Web Site has a specific size (e.g. 22K). Every time a
visitor downloads that file, your bandwidth usage goes up
by that amount.
The larger the file, the higher the bandwidth usage when
it is downloaded. The more traffic to your site, the more
bandwidth you will use.
What does “bandwidth” mean?
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted
in a fixed amount of time. The “data transfer rate” is the speed
with which data can be transmitted from one device to another.
Data rates are often measured in megabits (million bits) or
megabytes (million bytes) per second.
These are usually abbreviated as Mbps and Mbps, respectively.
Bits and Bytes
8 bits = 1 byte.
1,024 bytes = 1 kilobyte (Kb).
1,024 kilobytes (Kb) = 1 megabyte (mb or meg)
1,024 megabytes = 1 gigabyte (gb or gig)
How much bandwidth do I need?
To determine how much bandwidth you need, estimate the
file size of each web page, and then multiply it by the number
of pages on your web site.
Multiply this figure by the number of the number of page
views you expect per month from your site.
For example, if your web page consists of two 15Kb images
and 3Kb of html, you would have 33Kb of data for that
page. Now multiply this by the number of page views you
expect to have per month (e.g. 100,000 per month). This
would mean 3.3Gb of data needs to be transferred per month
for that page.
Now recalculate this number for each page, and you’ll know
approximately how much bandwidth your entire site requires.
How can you reduce bandwidth usage?
The easy way is to reduce the size of the files on your site,
particularly images and other graphics. For example, you have
a large image (i.e. 200KB) on your web page that is downloaded
by each visitor every time the page is requested. If you
reduce this image to 20KB or remove it altogether, it will
dramatically cut your bandwidth usage. It will also speed
up your site’s performance.
For more information on optimizing images for the Web, read
my article, “Preparing Images for Your Web Site”,
Web Sites that have MP3s to download, movies, music playing
in the background and large images, will obviously have a
higher bandwidth. Large web sites or sites that expect a
lot of traffic, will also use a lot.
If your site has mainly html pages and small images, your
bandwidth will not be that high.
Web Page Checker
Tuning up your Web Site
If you make changes to your site by adding
more files and/or web pages, recalculate your web site
Estimate how many visitors will be accessing your web pages
over the next few months.
Recalculate the bandwidth usage for your site. You may need
more web space and bandwidth for your site to function
Check with your web hosting company to upgrade your
Now you can avoid the shock of exceeding your
monthly bandwidth usage and paying higher hosting fees.
You are now ready to receive more traffic to your site and
therefore make more sales.
About the Author
Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner
and author of iSiteBuild.com
Site Design and Low Cost Hosting from $30/year.
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