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Bandwidth and its uses

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Bandwidth… What is it, and How Much do I need?

 by The Hosting STOP- Copyright © 2006
Here to help you understand Bandwidth!

Understanding bandwidth is an important topic to be familiar with. All hosting companies offer numerous plans with different amounts. Before you choose a hosting option, you should have a basic idea of how much you will need.

What is Bandwidth?

This is the amount of data or information that is allowed to transfer from a web server to a browser. (Browser: software program used to access and display pages & files on the Internet).

What kind of information or data uses bandwidth?

The information can be anything that a visitor or user of a website has access to. This includes all file types, images, video, audio, text, Java, and any other active or inactive script. Every time a user accesses your web page, bandwidth is used.

What uses the most bandwidth?

The biggest users of bandwidth are audio/music and video files that can be downloaded by the visitor. Second on the list, is large images. These images can take up as much as 7MB of bandwidth. That 7MB of bandwidth will be used by just one person viewing the page. These types of files will also slow down the upload time for your web pages.

How can I add audio & video without using up all the bandwidth?

The best way to utilize these types of files without wasting bandwidth is to use a compression tool to shrink the files. Numerous files can be combined into one smaller file. (e.g. WinZip Compression Tool)

How do I add images without using too much bandwidth?

The most conventional method of utilizing images on a web page is to use a graphics optimization program. There are many types of programs that can shrink image files to use less bandwidth ( image optimization). Some examples of these programs are Becker Draw, PhotoShop, and PaintShop. Many PC’s come with some sort of image program pre-installed on the computer.

How much bandwidth do I need?

Figuring out how much bandwidth you will need depends on the type of website you are creating.

  • Shopping / Retail Website:
    This type of site will most likely need the most amount of bandwidth. Since the goal is to attract as many visitors as possible to create sales. These types of web pages generally have more images, Java, and text. Tracking software provided free by most hosting providers can help webmasters to determine if more bandwidth is needed.
  • Private Business Websites:
    These types of websites are usually limited to employees to work with. The amount of bandwidth can be determined by the actual working function or application the web page is designed for. There generally is not as much need for numerous images, complex Java, or intense script. Let’s say that an employer requires employees to fill out some basic pre-employment questioners or information online. This is a more controlled setting, allowing the webmaster to determine a more exact amount of bandwidth needed. They can quickly determine the amount needed after a quick test of going through the controlled process of filling out the required information
  • Single Page Websites:
    By far, the most simplistic of website design online. These types of websites usually require the least amount of bandwidth. The least amount of pages on a website generally require far less bandwidth.

What if I need more bandwidth!

Not to worry, most hosting providers allow for easy upgrades of packages and plans. You can either purchase more bandwidth specifically or upgrade to a completely new package. Most hosting companies will be happy to assist you in this process. It usually a smooth transition for hosts to complete. If upgrading is not an option, hosting plans are usually metered monthly. When the allotment of bandwidth is used up, the web page is temporarily shut down and restarted the next month.

In Conclusion:
Determining the exact amount of bandwidth is an almost impossible task. You can, however, get a basic idea of what you will need. The deeper your website gets( the more pages you have), more images, more text, complicated audio & video… the more bandwidth you will need. REMEMBER—You can always get more bandwidth when needed, but you cannot downsize a hosting plan mid-cycle.

 

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