Unlimited Bandwidth in Web Hosting

Unlimited Bandwidth in Web Hosting
 by: Ashish Jain

Bandwidth explained:

Bandwidth is the amount of data transfer that you are allowed to have for a hosting package i.e. Let's say you have a web page that is 48KB in size, now each time a user opens your site and goes to that page S/he downloads 48 KB of information on to their computer. If a 100 users view that page one time each then there has been a total of 4800 KB of data transferred from the server on which your files are stored for the computer of users.

Size of web Page: 48 KB

Number of users who viewed the web page: 100

Total amount of data transferred: 48KB * 100 = 4800 KB

Bandwidth is the term that is used to denote the amount of data that has been transferred from your web space.

The amount of bandwidth that you require while choosing a host depends on two factors:

  • The size of your site.
  • The popularity of your site.

If your site is not very huge and you do not have any audio/video downloads and it's not very popular i.e. not a lot of people visit your site then you do not really require a lot of bandwidth, on a average a web site uses up only 500 MB of bandwidth per month. Or if your site is small but extremely popular then you might have to go for a web hosting package that offers high bandwidth.

On the other hand if your web site is huge, providing audio/video downloads, as well as being very popular then you would certainly require a huge amount of bandwidth. Let's say you have a video file that is 150 MB in size and in a single day a 100 visitors download the file. This means that 15 GB of bandwidth will have been used. If you multiply that by 30 days for the month it comes to 450 GB.

The unlimited bandwidth controversy

For some time now a lot of hosting companies are supposedly providing "unlimited bandwidth" for their web hosting packages.

It's absolutely true, you can have unlimited bandwidth. However, you will need an unlimited amount of money by your side! Jokes apart, if you ever come across such a host it would be best to turn around and run back the way you came from.

Just think, if you can get unlimited bandwidth for $25-30 a month then why aren't big companies like Sun, Microsoft etc. not hosted there? In fact, why isn't everyone hosted there? For that matter, if unlimited is a standard feature then why don't all the hosts offer it? Is it because it is expensive and requires better hardware? No, it's because some hosts are honest and don't give in to such gimmicks.

Statistically speaking, a T1 Internet connection (huge broadband) equals approximately 500GB per month and costs around $1200 per month. So how can it be possible to get the same or unlimited for $30 a month?

There are a lot of ways you can be duped by these 'unlimited' hosts; here are just a few of them:

The secret of 'unlimited' is actually buried in the Terms of Service by the host. Do not be surprised to find that unlimited = 15 GB.

The host may restrict the sort of files that you can host on their server. Generally image galleries and audio/video files attract a lot more downloads thereby resulting in higher bandwidth consumption. So if there are no files of this type, your site won't really require a lot of bandwidth.

Some newly opened hosts use it as a scam. They take your money and after a few months when their server starts to become slow or reaches its limit, they run - with your money!

Some hosts outline in their Terms of Service that you can have unlimited bandwidth as long as you qualify for it. i.e. Your site must use less then, let's say 2 GB of bandwidth in order to qualify for the unlimited bandwidth feature. As soon as your site goes over that limit they either start charging you for it or cut off your downloads altogether.

In life it's a universal truth that you always get what you pay for, and it's no different for web hosting.

If a host is using a cheap advertising gimmick like 'unlimited' bandwidth they maybe lying about a few other things too. Their 'dedicated' support team could be a single person (the hoster itself in most cases) sitting in front of a computer and taking your calls.

Do you really want unlimited bandwidth hosting from hosts that have very limited resources at their disposal? Or, do you want to go for a host that has spent thousands of dollars on setting up a good network infrastructure, servers, and a highly qualified and dedicated support team? The choice ultimately is yours and yours alone.

This article was posted on February 27, 2005

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