What Is Data Transfer In Web Hosting?

What Is Data Transfer In Web Hosting?

The cost of bandwidth required is a factor you should consider when choosing and researching a web host. There are several providers that offer “unlimited” data transfer hosting plans.

Furthermore, unlimited is not always unlimited since there are penalties beyond “normal” usage.

With that said, you cannot really compare and evaluate different web hosting plans without knowing what data transfer and bandwidth actually mean.

This post will explain data transfer, whether you should be concerned about it, factors affecting it, and how to calculate it for a site.

What Does Data Transfer Mean?

Data transfer refers to the total amount of data that is transferred between a website and its host in a given period of time, which is generally a month.

Data Transfer

Bandwidth is a broader term used for calculating the rate of data and traffic flow between users on a site and the internet.

In short, bandwidth is the measure of maximum data which can be transferred in any particular time, usually seconds.

Data transfer states the amount of data that can be transferred in a month whereas bandwidth tells the speed at which data can be transferred.

Think of bandwidth as a tunnel and the cars passing through it as data transfer.

Bigger tunnels allow more cars to pass through them.

Do You Need To Worry About Bandwidth Usage?

You don’t need to worry about data transfer limits and bandwidth usage if you are planning on launching your first website.

Increased Bandwidth

Enough bandwidth is offered by most hosting companies, even the budget ones, to tide you over for the first year or two.

You would know enough by then to tell the type of data transfer limit you need.

It’s fundamental to understand that sites with less bandwidth take a long time to load.

Bandwidth-calculator-ceated-by-digital-ocean

This is because visitors need to wait their turn.

Less data transfer means your site will be unavailable more frequently since you would have reached the maximum amount of allowed data.

Data transfer limits and bandwidth usage becomes a concern if you are expecting a few hundred visitors each day.

Factors Influencing Bandwidth Consumption

Three primary factors impact bandwidth consumption:

Average Size Of Website Pages

If your pages are large, visitors need to download more data from the servers. Bandwidth usage will increase as a result.

The Average Size Of A Website

Excessive use of high-quality images is a big contributor to bloated page size.

Number Of Users

Having more visitors on your page is a great thing.

daily visitors

But, that does affect your bandwidth and data transfer usage as well.

For instance, having 100 visitors visiting a page that is 1MB in size will use 100MB of bandwidth.

If that number increases to 500 users, it becomes 500MB of bandwidth.

Average Number Of Pages Browsed Per Session

Visitors will browse more pages if your website is engaging and attractive.

New Websites

When a visitor accesses only one page on your site with a 1MB size, the bandwidth usage is 1MB.

Moreover, if the same visitor gets engaged with the site and ends up browsing 5 different pages of 1MB each, then they end up using 5MB.

The impact on bandwidth usage can be significant if your website gets hundreds of visitors.

As you can see, the impact on bandwidth usage can be enormous.

How Much Data Transfer Will Your Website Use?

Data transfer usage heavily depends on the traffic you get, size of pages, and the average number of pages that visitors load.

Data Transfer Illustration

This makes it impossible to predict data transfer and bandwidth required by a particular website.

However, this is a rough estimate based on averages:

  • The average size of a page on a blog is around 2MB per page
  • On average, three pages are browsed during a single visit on a reasonably engaging website

This means a visitor will use 6MB of bandwidth per visit. You can expect to use 6GB of bandwidth in a month if your blog gets 1,000 visitors per month as per this estimate.

You need to remember that the average page on your website could be smaller than 2MB if you don’t use advanced WordPress plugins or upload a lot of images.

Steps To Reduce Data Transfer Usage

These 4 best practices can help reduce data transfer if you are worried your website is going to exceed the bandwidth limit imposed by your host:

Use A CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Using a CDN, such as Cloudflare is by far the most impactful step to take for reducing bandwidth usage.

Cloudflare Homepage

The content of your site will get distributed securely across several servers around the globe.

This means the pages will get served from the CDN servers instead of the host’s servers directly.

Data transfer between your website visitors and hosting server will be reduced significantly.

Use .Jpg Images

PNG format is larger than JPG images.

JPG Recommended For Website

You can reduce the size of your web pages by having all images in JPG format. This will enable less bandwidth consumption.

Lever Browsing Caching Ability

Leverage your visitor’s browsing caching capabilities for preventing the same content from being downloaded repeatedly.

This will help you save some bandwidth on return visitors.

Speak with your hosting server to configure browser caching.

Install A Minifying Plugin For JavaScript Or JS

JavaScript code is a big contributor to a bloated web page size and increased bandwidth use.

JavaScript

Consider installing a Merge + Minify + Refresh plugin if you use WordPress.

This will merge all JS scripts on a single file for minifying the code.

Does Bandwidth And Data Transfer Limit Matter When Choosing A Web Host?

Bandwidth calculation is a critical factor when developing an app for the public or trying to lower hosting costs.

Based on this, it shouldn’t be a major factor when deciding to choose a web server host.

This is especially true if you are just starting out.

Most hosting companies offer more than enough data transfer and bandwidth for low-traffic volume beginner websites.

Final Thoughts

For beginner webmasters, any plan with a minimum of 50GB bandwidth will be enough in the first few years of activity.

You shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about how is data transferred and what minimum monthly data transfer is necessary.

Instead, you should focus on safety, affordability, and performance.

For seasoned webmasters, bandwidth is a vital consideration and you should find a web hosting plan that is adequate as per your traffic, average page size, and overall website size.

You can receive more pertinent information about the leading web hosting providers by visiting our comprehensive online resource: 7 Best Web Hosting For Small Business: 2022‘s Top Providers.

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Article by

Matt Diggity

Matt is the founder of Diggity Marketing, LeadSpring, The Search Initiative, The Affiliate Lab, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. He actually does SEO too.

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