The Ultimate Bandwidth Formula – How to Calculate Your Bandwidth Needs

As of January 2018, over 1.8 billion websites call the World Wide Web home. But at the time of this writing, there were more than 1.93 billion online websites, a number that continues to grow.

Of this, 237,412 are .ie domains (Ireland) registered in 2017.

With so many new websites launched every year, it seems like a pretty easy thing to do, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But launching a website is one thing, ensuring it works right is another story.

One common mistake new website owners make is forgetting all about bandwidth formula. One reason is because it’s not a front-end facet of website creation and management. It’s a background component, but an essential one nonetheless.

Don’t worry though if you’re not familiar with bandwidths, how they work, and how to determine how much of it you need. Keep reading, and you’ll learn what you need in this post.

What’s a Bandwidth in the First Place?

Bandwidth refers to the volume of data that a network can transfer within a given time.

In this case, “network” is your Internet connection. As for time, seconds are often used, which is why you’ll see bandwidth expressed as xxx bits per second. The xxx part is the amount of data, say 25 megabits (MBs).

Let’s use an internet connection as an example.

In Ireland, the average fixed broadband speed in the second half of 2017 was 38.81 Mbps. The 38.81 (megabits) there refers to the amount of data transferred every second.

Still confused?

Well, here’s one way to visualize it. Think of your Internet connection as a pipe and data as grains of sand. As for bandwidth, it’s the size of the hollow part of the pipe.

Now, what do you think will happen if you poured lots of sand (data) into a narrow (bandwidth) pipe? It’ll no doubt take a lot of time for the sand to reach the other end of the pipe. But if the pipe’s hollow area was wider and bigger, the sand will flow through way faster.

It’s the same for bandwidths. The higher the bandwidth of your Internet connection, the faster the data transfer. This is especially important for websites that contain huge amounts of data.

Why You Need Adequate Bandwidth Right from the Start

Most average Internet users don’t have to know the ins and outs of bandwidths. But this shouldn’t be the case for website owners, as bandwidth affects a site’s entire performance. That’s why you need to know how to calculate bandwidth, to ensure your website is up to speed.

Bandwidth Affects Page Speed and Page Loading Speed

Page speed is the amount of time a website takes to download the info from its hosting service. It also refers to the time it takes for that info (AKA web page content) to become visible on that page.

Now, as an Internet user yourself, you most likely have come across websites that take forever to load. Web pages that display nothing except a white screen for several seconds. Whichever the case is, you most likely felt annoyance and frustration.

Those are two emotions you wouldn’t want your business website’s visitors to feel. They’re bad for your business.

One, because it’ll lead to people closing their web browsers (with your non-loading web page). In fact, mobile pages that take more than three seconds to load have a 53% abandonment risk. That’s over half of your potential mobile visitors down the drain!

It Can Make or Break Your Online Search Rankings

Page load speed is one of the over 200 factors Google considers to rank websites. After all, the search engine places a massive importance on searcher experience. Now, super slow loading pages aren’t what you can call a good experience.

As such, it follows that having low bandwidth won’t do your rankings any good. It can kill your general SEO and local search result rankings. Whereas fast loading pages can wow your visitors, which can even lead to them checking out the rest of your site.

It Affects Visitor Experience

At the end of the day, your site’s visitors are the still the most important reason you need enough bandwidth. Your business relies on them and their patronage, after all. That should be enough for you to choose a web host offering adequate bandwidth.

Keep in mind that 86% of buyers say they’d rather pay more in exchange for better customer experience. 73% of consumers also said customer experience influences their buying behaviours.

Customer experience is much like web user experience. If you make site visitors wait too long because of slow loading pages, that’s bad experience. If your pages don’t load at all, that’s even worse.

So, prevent these from ruining your soon-to-launch site. Get your bandwidth calculations ready and ensure your web host can provide.

Factors that Affect Your Bandwidth Requirements

To calculate bandwidth needs of your website, consider these three factors:

1. The Resource-Intensiveness of Your Site

Resources refer to your website content, from text to audio to video files. It’s the total size of each of your web pages, measured in kilobytes, combined. Of course, the heavier your web pages are, the more bandwidth you need.

2. The Number of Visitors Your Site Gets Every Month

How many people visit your site is also part of the bandwidth equation. That’s because each visitor consumes a chunk of your bandwidth allocation.

This can be tricky though, since your site isn’t live yet. So, this one needs to be an estimate.

One workaround here is to look up other websites with a size roughly the same as yours. Research their traffic statistics and use that as your guide.

Make sure you track your own traffic stats once your site goes live. This way, you can make appropriate adjustments to your bandwidth plan.

3. The Average Page Views per Site Visitor

Page views are the number of times or “instances” a visitor accesses a specific web page. When making network bandwidth calculations, consider the average page views per site visitor. Look for this figure in the same traffic stats you looked up from other similar-sized sites.

The Easy Bandwidth Formula to Calculate Your Needs

There are several other factors that determine actual bandwidth usage. We’ll discuss the others later, but you can use the three above for an estimate.

Here goes:

1. Get the average page size of your entire website.

2. Multiply that with your estimated monthly average number of site visitors.

3. Multiply the figure you got from step two by the estimated average page views per visitor.

The final result is the amount of bandwidth you can expect to use – and need – for your website. Again, this is only an estimate, but it should give you an idea in the meantime.

Other Crucial Factors that Affect Your Site’s Bandwidth Needs

If you plan to run several sites on one server host, make sure you include all in your calculations. Let’s say you have three domains on one hosting account. Then, use the formula above for each of them and then add them all up.

What exactly your site visitors do on your website also influences bandwidth usage. For instance, your site contains several HD videos. In this case, you need far more bandwidth than if you had no videos in your site.

Don’t Forget Your Site’s Future Growth

No plans of making any major changes to your website? Then you don’t have to worry that much about changes to your bandwidth either.

In reality though, this is unlikely to happen. First, because your business will grow, and so will your website’s content. You may not have the budget for awesome videos at the moment, but you may in the future.

Adding a single video to your website will already increase bandwidth usage. Adding even a single web page, let’s say a new product, will have the same effect.

Of course, if your business booms, then so will your website traffic. The more people who visit your site, the more bandwidth you need.

The point is, it’s best you factor in the growth of your business (and its website) as early as now. Even before you choose a web hosting service.

Leaving enough room for growth also makes things simpler for you. First, because you don’t have to change hosts every single time you make changes to your website. Second, you have more freedom to do what you want with your website.

Choosing the Right Web Hosting Plan Means Getting the Right Bandwidth Allocation

The simple bandwidth formula above is a good way to determine your site’s bandwidth needs. So long as you also consider the rest of the factors, particularly future changes.

To ensure you get enough bandwidth allocation, do your research on web hosting plans. Find out which offers meet your bandwidth needs and compare similar packages. This’ll help your website start off on the right foot.

Need further clarification about bandwidths or which type of host to get? If so, then feel free to ring us up! We’ll take care of any questions you have about getting your website out to the public.