Web Host Bandwidth / Data Transfers

Data transfer, sometimes referred to as bandwidth, refers to the amount of information passed to and from your website.

Every time somebody looks at a page on your website, or any file you have stored on the web server, data is transferred. This is measured in megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB). The larger the files are on your website, the more data will be transferred.

You can estimate the amount of data your website will transfer in a month by calculating the size, in kilobytes (KB), of an average page request, and multiplying it by the number of page views your website will receive in a month.

For example, if you have an HTML page with 6 small photos, the total size of the page might be 200KB. Because of browser caching, images repeated on other pages will not be downloaded again by the same visitor; so let’s estimate the total data transfer for a single visitor looking at several pages to be 300KB.

Let’s now assume your website will receive, on average, 60 visitors per day. This equates to 1800 visitors per month and a total data transfer amount of 540MB.

Of course, if your website is graphics-intensive, contains multimedia aspects, or offers files for download; this figure will be greatly increased.

Web hosts’ data transfer offerings vary greatly, and can be between 500MB/month and 60GB/month. Web hosts not located in the United States will usually have much tighter limits on data transfers because they pay significantly more for the amount of data they transfer.

As with storage space, most web hosts will let you pay more to increase the amount of data your website is allowed to transfer each month. Beware if the web host has a policy of charging per megabyte for transfers exceeding the monthly limit; the per-megabyte charge will often be astronomic. If your website experiences a surge in traffic, it can easily cost you an arm, and sometimes a leg, too!