Bandwidth is an important factor to consider when choosing a good web host but its’s still not the most important one. We previously talked about web hosting disk space and the reality of it. The 2nd most popular slogan of web hosting companies is Unlimited Bandwidth. So what’s all that about?
In simple words, bandwidth is analogous to the amount of miles you can drive with your company’s car per month. All websites uses bandwidth to load the HTML, images, and files of your websites. So a web hosting company which is telling you that it gives you an unlimited bandwidth should be analogous to making you the king of the company’s car (ironically). Sadly this is also another marketing strike point that almost all web hosts use.
While bandwidth is cheap nowadays, you need to also think why will a company give you an unlimited bandwidth and do you really need so much bandwidth? Many people when buying a hosting account, are lured to this slogan and start dreaming to have their own little Rapidshare clone or even Facebook clone. Stop dreaming! Sites like Rapidshare, Facebook and even Google have hundreds to thousands or servers. They do not use a simple shared server.
Note: I am not saying its bad or evil to use these slogans! This is marketing and since everyone use it, all the others too use it but if you read the TOS you will see these details.
If unlimited bandwidth would have been true, then the whole world would be transferring GBs of ripped DVDs every minute right now by paying a small hosting server at $6 per month. If you really want to start a file sharing website, then go for a powerful dedicated server which cost normally over $150/month for the basic.
When you choose a web host, you need to know what is your expected bandwidth usage per month and be sure you get a package that can satisfy your needs without over purchasing. Normally it takes a very large website to even uses 50GB of bandwidth per month!
Taking my own experience as example, Island Crisis itself uses at most 200GB of bandwidth per month and that’s with about 8000 daily readers.
Normally a bandwidth of 30Gb is more than enough per month for a small to medium website. If you plan to have some 4 to 5 small to medium sites hosted then a bandwidth of 100GB to 200Gb itself should be enough but it can be too much too depending on the traffic of the website.
If you want to know why hosting providers can safely tell you about unlimited bandwidth it is because they know you will never even use so much bandwidth. And in case you are being the bad dude and doing warez transfer(using scripts) for more than the REAL bandwidth they have given you, you will simply get a notice that you are abusing on their tos.
In the next post I will talk about how to choose a webhost that can sustain traffic peak. If you missed yesterday’s post about the truth of unlimited disk space do read it now.