Determining the bandwidth needed for your web hosting doesn’t have to be a challenge! Thankfully, there are some very simple and basic things to consider. Bandwidth is measured in bits per second, but due to modern speeds, is usually measured regarding Megabits or Gigabits per second. When setting up your website, you will have to choose from a variety of hosting plans, and you may not be sure about which one is right for you.
Most plans are based on the amount of bandwidth used in a month, rather than a year. Some hosting providers will allow you to change your plan from month to month, while others will lock you in for a year. So if you aren’t certain about which plan to choose, it’s usually best to size up. Some bandwidth sites have calculators that will allow you to estimate what you need, but for those that don’t, there are other ways to come up with a valid estimate.
How much traffic do you believe your site will be getting? If there’s been a lot of interest in your business, it’s reasonable to expect that your site will gain a lot of interest, too. Conversely, if you’re a start-up, or if your site is a personal blog, it may not receive much attention at first. And if you’re switching hosting providers, you may already have a good idea of the bandwidth your site will need. You want to be realistic, but you also want to leave your site room to grow! When determining how much bandwidth you need, you should also consider the type of site you are building. If your site offers a lot of downloads, you will require more bandwidth. You will also need to find if people plan on looking at more pages, or staying for a long time, which will use more bandwidth.
After your site has begun to grow, you may start looking for a dedicated server hosting plans. While dedicated server hosting costs a bit more than shared hosting, it is often worth the additional cost for medium to large sites. Whether it is worth, the cost to you will depend on your particular site and needs.
A dedicated server means that you have your own server, or virtual server, setup just for your particular site. This is very useful if your site gets more traffic than a regular shared hosting plan allows. A dedicated server hosting plan can sometimes even be cheaper in these cases (consider the costs of going over your minutes on your cellular phone plan, as the same type of thing can apply to a shared server hosting plans). Another advantage of a dedicated server is that you have full control over what is installed on the server. Pretty much any host shared or dedicated, will have Apache, MySQL, and PHP available. But if you want something more esoteric (custom seed CGIs, dedicated SSL FTP access, or your custom programs), then you need to have a dedicated server. Since you control the whole server, you can install any of these programs that you might need to do whatever your site has to do. Now, of course, the flipside, is that then you are responsible for maintaining all of this additional software and the necessary patching. This can be a full-time job all by itself, even if you just have a few servers. If you are using a shared hosting solution, this isn’t the case, as management of all the software is covered as part of your monthly fees.
Dedicated server hosting plans have distinct advantages but will cost you a bit more money. Consider all your options and make sure you find the one that best fits your needs and budget. You’ll be much happier in the long run if you dig deep in your search.