The difference between bandwidth and data transfer

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If you’re like me, when you purchased your first Web hosting account and took a look at the amount of bandwidth that you have available to use each month, you didn’t realize that there was an actual difference between bandwidth and data transfer. Believe it or not, they aren’t the same thing, even though the two are similar. Let’s look at how they differ and how this can affect your website.

Bandwidth refers to how much data you can transfer at one time, while data transfer is how much data is being transferred. Think of it this way: If your bandwidth is a bridge, the bigger the bridge you have, the more vehicles can drive over it. Data transfer is the number of vehicles that go over your bridge in a specific time frame, say, a one-day period. So in simple terms, data transfer is the consumption of your bandwidth.

This can affect your site drastically. If you don’t have a lot of bandwidth to spare, it’s going to take a long time for your website to load if people connect to take a look at your website and that’s regardless of their Internet connection, whether it’s a dial-up account or a high-speed DSL account. When you set up your website with a web host, you need to try to determine the amount of bandwidth that you will need. Always estimate high, otherwise you may occasionally find yourself going over your bandwidth limitations and your site could become unavailable for a period of time. This means it’s important that you know your website statistics, such as the amount of traffic you receive, where it’s coming from, how many visitors you receive daily, etc. This will help you to plan for how much bandwidth you’ll need on a monthly basis.

To determine this, try to figure out the daily averages of the number of visitors that you have compared to the number of expected visitors. You also need to determine the sizes of each of your webpages in megabytes and how many page views you get from each visitor.

Then you can us this simple formula to help you determine what you need for bandwidth: Visitors x Page Size x Page Views x 30 Days = Monthly Website Transfer.

Also keep in mind that there are ways that you can actually reduce the amount of bandwidth that you use a monthly basis. You can optimize your webpages and your graphics for quicker and easier viewing on your website by decreasing their file size. Also stay away from having things like flash presentations, streaming audio, or even streaming or downloadable video on your web space because those items will chew up your bandwidth very quickly.

By determining how much bandwidth you need a monthly basis, you can save yourself a lot of money in the long run. Take the time to find out how much you need to start saving money today.

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