We generally hear a lot about bandwidths and data transfers while choosing the hosting service for our websites. Even if we are not website owners, sometimes we face trouble with our home internet service providers in terms of connection speed while downloading or uploading files. Technically speaking bandwidth is defined as the range of frequency, through which the data can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. In the business perspective, it describes the ability to handle certain amount of traffic and quantity of data that can be transferred through a network connection between the website and internet user. It can be confusing to decide on the amount of bandwidth required if we are dealing with it for the first time, but remember if our website is under-performing below expectations then it is time to rethink about our hosting plan.

How to decide on the bandwidth requirement?

Well, there are no specific statistics on how much bandwidth should be allocated for a website but broadly speaking, if it has limited number of visitors per month then there is nothing to worry too much about the network bandwidth and you can go for any basic to medium hosting plans. On the other hand, if the website is having heavy traffic with audio & video files, images, and other online applications included, then there is always a need to upgrade the existing plan to higher bandwidths to give faster and better user browsing experience. Remember, the higher the bandwidth, the faster will be the speed & performance, and more traffic it can accommodate to visit the site.

Upstream & downstream data

There are many things that users would do other than browsing when they are on the internet – emails, chats, messaging, file sharing etc. In most of these cases, either they will be downloading the information to their personal PCs or uploading the data from the device to the internet. Most of the internet service providers specifically mention upstream & downstream bandwidths to make it clear to their users about the limitation in data transfers. In fact, many of them offer high downstream bandwidths compared to its counterpart because that is what most of the internet users also prefer. Conversely, it is the upstream bandwidth that really matters when sending of data is critical, especially for businesses that deal with lot of file uploads in their web server applications.

Factors that affect the bandwidth

  • Multiple devices on a single connection
    The bandwidth gets distributed as the number of devices increase which means when multiple users are using the same connection, only a limited bandwidth gets allocated to each device. In such cases, the rate at which data gets transferred will be very slow and requires an upgrade for higher hosting plans for faster response. When using wireless routers, each protocol will be assigned with specific bandwidth and the users connecting to those protocols will have limitation on the usage.
  • Other system processes
    Apart from the internet, there are other processes that are mandatory to keep our system running perfectly without any problem. Most often we notice our systems running very slow while executing automatic OS updates and antivirus security checks. This is because uploads and downloads that happen during these processes consume the existing internet bandwidth and make the system little bit slower than its original speed.
  • Number of internet tasks
    This is almost same as running multiple users on a single connection. As the number of internet based processes increases, which means if there are more than five tasks running simultaneously, then the bandwidth gets distributed and each one runs at a slower speed. The downstream and upstream data reach their maximum available limit, and processes hardly respond to our instructions when given. Hence to increase the speed and make the efficient use of maximum available bandwidth, perform the tasks one at a time instead of running them simultaneously.