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Understanding Bandwidth and Data Transfer

by Bedrich Omacka

Do you have any website on your own? Or have you been involved in hosting a website for your company or some of your friends? Then you should have heard about the term Bandwidth and Data transfer. Often there is confusion in understanding both these terms.

Bandwidth is the capacity of the network or the server that hosts the website, to send data at a moment. It is the amount of data sent per second from the server. This count more because, if there are many websites in the server and a million hits for the sites the server should be capable of sending that much of data at that moment. If the web server that you host your website has high bandwidth then the users visiting your site would see the pages quickly.

If you refer to the bandwidth there are two numbers separated by “/”. The first number indicates the bandwidth that is allowed to send data and the second number indicates the bandwidth allowed to receive data. In most of the cases the bandwidth to send data is less than the bandwidth to receive data.

Data transfer is the amount of data that is sent by the server over a period of time. For example the monthly data transfer allowed for a particular site might be 1GB. This means that the website account is allowed to transfer data from their website for only 1GB per month.

Consider that you have a page in your website that is of size 100kb. If this page is visited 100 times per month, then the data transfer added to your account would be 10 MB due to this page alone. Hence to minimize the data transfer it is always better to minimize the file size of the web page. This can be done in many ways.

You should know that a web page contains not only text but also media content such as images, sounds, videos, and downloadable files. When you create your web page you should keep in mind that you optimizing all these files so that the page loads quickly and the data transfer is kept at the minimum. That is why most of the photos related sites have thumbnail pictures so that they can reduce the data transfer due to the main page and the user is allowed to download the actual image only if they are interested in seeing that image.

While hosting a website with a service provider most of us tend to see only the features that are available for your hosting and the web space that is provided for your plan. The cost to the web hosting company due to these are very less when compared to the cost due to data transfer.

If you know that you website is going to attract a lot of visitors to it, then you should go for an account or plan that has more data transfer per month. This would save you a lot of money. So the next time you purchase a web hosting plan keep an eye on the Data Transfer allowed for your plan.

Friday, Oct 6th, 2006