How Can I Determine How Much Bandwidth My Website Should Have?

Network connection plug RJ-45When designing your website, one of the first questions you probably ask is “How much bandwidth should my website have?” The answer is simple and depends on the file sizes of the content on your site and the number of pageviews you expect to have per month.

It’s important to estimate this number fairly accurately to avoid spending too much money or causing your visitors to leave when your pages fail to load. Some Web hosts advertise unbelievably high bandwidth for cheap rates, because they assume most websites won’t use the full amount. Always investigate a Web host before signing a contract.

Calculating Your Web Space Requirements

The math involved in calculating your website’s total file sizes is as simple as adding all the files together in any file browser window. Just create a new folder on your desktop and copy all the files there. The total size is displayed at the bottom of the window, and the size is automatically converted to megabytes or gigabytes without the need to understand base-2 arithmetic.

To fine-tune your result, create a separate folder for each page on your site and estimate the visitors for each page. Multiply the file sizes for each page by the number of visitors you expect it to receive per month. Add all of the pages together to get your final bandwidth estimate. This method yields a more accurate result than lumping all your pages together, because some pages may require more bandwidth than others.

Optimizing Your Website for Faster Downloads

After determining how much bandwidth your website should have, you can reduce this amount by optimizing your pages to load faster. Simply by using appropriate compression methods for images and video, you can dramatically reduce file sizes. For example, images with only a few colors, such as graphics, logos or cartoons, can be compressed as GIF images much more efficiently than PNG or JPG, according to the tech website, Webopedia. The reason is that GIF images only support up to 256 colors and are better at compressing large areas of one color in an image.

You can compress videos to a lower resolution to allow them to load faster, but any resolution below 480p tends to look pixelated in full screen mode. For most videos embedded in a YouTube player, 240p or 360p should be fine. YouTube automatically converts videos to lower resolutions that your viewers can select from the options menu.

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How to Estimate Monthly Website Traffic

Predicting your monthly visitors is the key to determining how much bandwidth your website should have, according the tech site, Hubpages. If you already have a site, you can track your pageviews from your Web host’s dashboard and use that amount as a starting point. If this is your first site, you can probably expect to get 50 to 100 visitors a day at first, so 3GB to 5GB per month will suit your needs. For traffic approaching 500 visits per day, you will probably need 50GB to 60GB per month.

As your traffic grows, you will get a better sense of optimizing your site for faster loading times and which pages receive the most visitors. You can also avoid site crashes due to bandwidth overload.