Bandwidth is not the same thing as internet speed, latency, or throughput.
There are differences among these. Unfortunately, people often mistake bandwidth as the same thing as speed, latency, or throughput. We guess they don’t care much.
What is bandwidth on a website? We will have a broad discussion on this. Anyone who reads this article will become crystal clear about bandwidth.
What is Bandwidth in Web Hosting?
In a sentence
So, if you’re still thinking of bandwidth as the same as the internet speed, you’re wrong. It is actually the volume of data that can be transmitted over an internet connection, under a certain time.
What are units for measuring bandwidth?
Traditionally, bits per second (bps) were used to measure bandwidth. As time flies, technology also develops. Higher units for bandwidth were introduced. Units like Megabits per second (Mbps), Gigabits per second (Gbps), Terabits per second (Tbps) were discovered.
However, units were needed that are greater than these units in terms of metric prefixes. Therefore, units with higher metric prefixes like Petabit, Zettabyte, Yottabyte were introduced.
Megabit = 1,000,000 bits
Gigabit = 1,000,000,000 bits
Terabit = 1,000,000,000,000 bits
Petabit = 1,000,000,000,000,000 bits
Aside from that, bandwidth can also be measured in bytes per second (B/s). Similar to bits, the metric prefixes can be used for bytes. The conversion is one byte is equal to eight bits. Technically, 10GB/s or 10GBps is equal to 80Gbps.
1 byte = 8 bits
Thus, 10GB/s = 80Gbps
Yottabyte and Zettabyte are needed to represent a massive amount of bandwidth, which is pretty unusual. For this reason, these 2 units are rarely used.
Zettabyte = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000 bytes
Yottabyte = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
What are the types of bandwidth?
Basically, hosting providers come up with two types of hosting plans. They are-
|Metered Bandwidth||Unmetered Bandwidth|
|Once you get a metered bandwidth plan, a pre-specified limit will be set. You will be able to use that much bandwidth and charges will apply for overages.||Once you get an unmetered bandwidth plan, there won’t be any limit to measure the amount of bandwidth you are using. You can use as much bandwidth as you want by paying the cost|
Know some clues about bandwidth:
- Bits per second (Bps), Megabits per second (Mbps), Gigabits per second (Gbps) are denoted by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) while they are offering services.
- Your bandwidth may vary according to the type of internet connection and the transmission medium.
- Visual works (i.e. graphical images) take more bandwidth than text.
- An example of bandwidth – The bandwidth of a Gigabit Ethernet connection is normally 125 Mbps.
What is unlimited bandwidth?
Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates once said –
“We’ll have infinite bandwidth in a decade’s time”
The quote suggests that people will get unlimited bandwidth benefits- people will get the benefits of unlimited bandwidth one day. But for now, there is no such thing as unlimited bandwidth just like there is no such thing as unlimited online storage.
– But how do web hosting companies offer unlimited bandwidth?
The term “Unlimited Bandwidth” may sound lucrative, especially to non-technologists. Ultimately, there are limits to using the server’s CPU (Central Processing Unit) for every website. A website may shut down temporarily when it exceeds this limit. And that’s when they ask you to upgrade your hosting plan.
— A lot of shared web hosting companies offer unlimited bandwidth. Because they know sites running on shared servers will never use up the available bandwidth in normal scenarios. That’s why they run these cheap advertisements to lure customers.
Technically, they are right to some content. As you will never end up using up the full limit. But try to choose the one that offers the best service among all the hosting providers.
So before buying, pay close heed to the web hosting provider’s so-called unlimited bandwidth offer. You will know more about the offers when you ask them about their CPU usage policy and their attempts to solve issues when there is a spike in traffic. We have a comprehensive discussion about the best WordPress hosting providers in 2021.
Bandwidth vs Speed vs Traffic vs Throughput:
Let’s make you clear about bandwidth, throughput, traffic, and speed so that you don’t interchange these terms inaccurately. Although it is not affiliated with web hosting, it is associated with the ISP.
What is the difference between bandwidth and speed?
People often interchange bandwidth with internet speed. This is because the ISP providers tend to explain their customers that way. If we consider the internet speed as the data transfer rate, then bandwidth will be the capacity for that transit.
— According to the water metaphor, if motion refers to how water can be pushed through a pipe; bandwidth is the amount of water in a given period of time.
What is the difference between bandwidth and traffic?
To put it simply – traffic is the transferable data over the internet while bandwidth is the capacity of that data within a certain period of time. The more visitors that come on your website simultaneously, the more traffic will be generated.
Your website may react slowly when there’s a lot of traffic hitting your website simultaneously. This can happen during a peak hour and when your bandwidth is running out.
For example – If traffic refers to the number of cars on a highway, then bandwidth will be the number of lanes on that highway.
What is the difference between bandwidth and throughput?
In a nutshell, if you think bandwidth is the maximum capacity of data, then throughput indicates the amount of data that actually gets delivered to the destination within a certain time.
Take into account, these data successfully make it to the destination after overcoming the obstacles of packet loss, latency, network speed, and other facts.
What is the importance of bandwidth in web hosting?
We cannot think about running your website without the right amount of bandwidth. Bandwidth is becoming a part of everyone’s life as it can make the network faster. Here are some of the importance of bandwidth that may you may not know –
- The amount of bandwidth determines how fast content will be delivered from your website during traffic. So, it is an essential element to increase your audience and sales.
- In order to make your website appealing o your audience, include more content and features on your website with higher bandwidth.
- Bandwidth is also responsible for transferring data across the communication channels. The more bandwidth you have, the more frequencies in the communication channel. As a result, you can transfer more data at once. This is why bandwidth is measured in Hertz (Hz) sometimes.
- Increase your bandwidth to download anything from the internet quickly.
How to know your bandwidth when you are a website owner?
People often ask a question –
How can I check my bandwidth?
If you are the owner of a WordPress website, it’s very easy to get an exact idea of your bandwidth. Remember –
This will show the bandwidth provided by your hosting provider
Just follow these steps accordingly –
1. Go to your cPanel dashboard by using the 2083 port or browsing the following address –
2. Provide the required id and password to log in. Once you are inside the cPanel dashboard, click on Bandwidth –
3. It will start processing a report of your site’s bandwidth. You will see your bandwidth after a few seconds.
As you can see from the image above, it gives a bandwidth report of the last 24 hours, last week, and last year. You will also see the bandwidth report for the last 4 months.
How much bandwidth does a website need?
We are going to explain 2 formulas for calculating bandwidth. One formula calculates bandwidth with user downloads and the other one calculates bandwidth without user downloads. The calculative results of these 2 formulas will give you a hint of how much bandwidth you need.
Formula 1: Know the required bandwidth by considering user downloadsLet,
Number of visitors in a month/30 = Average Daily Visitor = ADV
Average size of each web page = Average Page Size = APS
Average page views per visitor = Average Page View = APV
Total file size/number of files = Average File Size = AFS
Average Download Per Day = AD
A safety constant (usually between 1.3 – 1.8) = Redundant Constant
Thus, Required Bandwidth = [(APV x APS x ADV) + (AD x AFS)] x Number of days in a month (30) x Redundant Constant
Formula 2: Know the required bandwidth without considering user downloads required Bandwidth = APV x APS x ADV x Number of days in a month (30) x Redundant Constant.
Please be advised – these 2 formulas may give an idea about the general bandwidth. But you can assume your bandwidth in web hosting when you get a result by the formula. Judging by the result, you can also determine the right hosting package for your website.
Suppose, you are running an eCommerce website where many visitors come every day. So, if the hosting provider offers you 4 plans where 2 plans have 10GB each, one has 50GB, and the other one has unlimited bandwidth, you can choose the appropriate package after getting an approximate idea from these 2 formulas.
Why is it important to measure bandwidth?
Does your ISP really offer the equivalent bandwidth as they said? If the usable bandwidth is less than the theoretical maximum bandwidth, network problems may occur. You can verify this by measuring your bandwidth.
— The home internet users can measure bandwidth with any software or by using any of the methods that we have discussed earlier. The corporate users can take other policies for getting stable bandwidth like getting carrier-leased connections from the premium ISPs,
What are the issues of bandwidth?
Generally, we get to see 3 types of bandwidth issues. If you face such issues, you need to contact your ISP immediately.
Too Much Bandwidth:
Although too much bandwidth isn’t serious, it can cause a few technical issues. High capacity bandwidth can solve the issues that are created by this fact. However, high capacity bandwidth is expensive.
Too Little Bandwidth:
The issues of too little bandwidth are many. Usually, most of the issues are caused by too little bandwidth.
- 4 Mbps is the adequate bandwidth for HD video streaming, which is recommended by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It will be impossible to imply when there is too little bandwidth.
- Because of too little bandwidth, low-quality calls are generated when someone makes a call over a network like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
- Web pages may take a lot of time to load because of too little bandwidth. The loading time can become consistently low and users may give up waiting.
- Backing up websites may take a while for too little bandwidth.
- Too little bandwidth is the reason for database or application errors.
- Online multiplayer gaming becomes frustrating because of too little bandwidth.
This chart shows the minimum required bandwidth for various purposes, recommended by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) –
|Web Browsing||0.5 Mbps – 1.0 Mbps|
|Streaming Music||0.5 Mbps|
|Streaming Video||0.7 Mbps|
|Streaming HD movies||4 Mbps|
|Streaming non-HD movies||1.5 Mbps|
|Video conferencing||1 Mbps|
|HD video conferencing||4 Mbps|
|Online HD multiplayer gaming||4 Mbps|
|VoIP phone calls||0.5 Mbps|
The design and infrastructure of the network can create latency. The delays that create throughput or goodput on a network, can be measured by latency. There are short delays in low latency networks and long delays in high latency networks.
High latency decreases the bandwidth of a network by preventing the transmission of the whole data. You can face difficulties while blogging due to high latency. Get rid of latency to make a blog within the shortest possible time.
How to optimize bandwidth usage?
We are hoping you have learned everything about bandwidth if you have read this article. — Let us know in the comment if we have missed anything. Now, we will discuss how you can optimize the over usage of bandwidth.
If your site is using more bandwidth than usual, there are several things you can do to optimize the usage. Perhaps, the following steps can be handy –
- As your website grows, your audience grows with it. Monitor the bandwidth of your website on a regular schedule. Take measurements of the bandwidth usage and look for solutions to optimize them, especially when you are adding new features to your website.
- CDN or Content Delivery Network is very useful for content optimization. Use this network to publish the content.
- Clearing the DNS cache may also help optimizing bandwidth.
- Compressing images is an efficient way to decrease bandwidth usage. This is also important for loading web pages quickly. If you want to keep the images on the same server, please reduce their sizes.
- If you don’t want to reduce the sizes of the images, keep them on a different server. It is better to keep graphics, videos, or other files on a different server. Keeping these files on a different server will increase the page loading speed.
— Make sure to follow the above steps to increase bandwidth speed. You can apply your own methods to optimize bandwidth usage.
Some bonus terms you should know about bandwidth:
Although these terms are related to the web hosting bandwidth, knowing them won’t bite. The more you know, the more you learn, right?
Bandwidth throttling is a measurement term engaged in communication networks. When the ISP internationally increases or decreases the internet speed, they are throttling. The purpose of throttling is to minimize bandwidth and regulate the network.
Although the practical bandwidth is often less than the theoretical bandwidth, some connections offer pre-defined bandwidth. These are called bandwidth maximums and they have the maximum data transfer rate.
The overall process of controlling and measuring bandwidth-related facts like traffic, latency, packets is called bandwidth management.
Bandwidths of some standard wired connections:
Let’s find out the bandwidth of standard wired connections –
|T1 (Digital leased landline connection)||1.544 Mbps|
|T3 (Digital leased landline connection)||44.763 Mbps|
|E1 (Digital leased landline connection European)||2.048 Mbps|
|OC3 (Fiber optic leased landline connection)||155 Mbps|
|OC 12 (Fiber optic leased landline connection)||622 Mbps|
|Gigabit Ethernet||1000 Mbps|
|Fast Ethernet||100 Mbps|
|Asynchronous DSL||4 Mbps|
Bandwidths of some standard wireless connections:
And here are the bandwidth of some standard wireless connections –
|5G (proposed)||1000 Mbps|
|4G – LTE||100 Mbps|
|3G – DC-HSPA+||42 Mbps|
|3G – HSPA+||21 Mbps|
|3G – HSPA||7.2 Mbps|
We hope you know much about bandwidth now. In the end, we repeat some important topics that we have discussed in this article –
- Consider the features your hosting provider is offering.
- Thoroughly check their policies about unlimited bandwidth offer. Because most of the time it’s actually not what they claim.
- Measure your bandwidth from time to time to see everything is going fine.
Leave a comment you have any opinions or thoughts. We hope it has been an insightful article for you.