How does Traffic Affect My Hosting?
The topic of hosting involves many different aspects; reliability, customer support, pricing, add-on features, programming, and allowable installation of PHP and other popular marketing scripts.
Today, I'm going to focus on ONE topic, traffic, and the effects it has on your web site's hosting. The simple one word answer here is 'Bandwith'.
By definition, Bandwith is the measurement of data, and the speed at which it flows through the phone lines, cable or DSL lines to tranfer information to and from a web site via your computer.
In relation to your web site hosting, Bandwith measures this flow of data transfer, otherwise termed 'Traffic'. In plain English, it's the number of hits you receive to your site; pure volume multiplied by the file sizes included on your pages.
So, if you have an all text based web site, you would be able to receive more traffic, at lower bandwith numbers, than you would if you have a 'graphics' intensive page, which would naturally have higher file sizes that are being trasferred from your site to your visitor's browser.
That's great Ginger, but how does this effect my hosting?
Well, that depends on your host, and the package you sign up for. For example, most hosting services set an limit on the amount of bandwith they include with your fee per month. Depending on the nature of your site, (graphics intensive vs. lower file sized pages), you should be able to predict how much bandwith you will need.
Case in point; my design site is definately what most would consider a *graphics intensive* web site! I can tell you that most of my pages there are over the recommended file size of 24kbs. From my stats logs, I can see that I receive upwards of 150,000 hits to my site before I reach a total bandwith of 2GBs, which is usually the maximun limit you'll find on lower scaled hosting packages.
If you know, or predict that you'll see more hits than that in any given month, you may want to consider shopping for a hosting package that offers a higher maximum of bandwith allowed per month.
Hosting companies that limit your bandwith, charge an additional fee whey you exceed your limits. The average additional cost I've found through my research is approximately $3USD per GB...
FYI= 1 GB = 1,000 MB 1 MB = 1,000 KB
So, if you have a bandwith, (aka 'data transfer'), limit of 2GB, that would equal approximately the same amount of data you can store on 3 CD's. *whew*
For a more detailed explanation of byte measurements,
If you're building your first web site, and have no idea how much traffic you will generate out of the gate, I would recommend starting with a basic web hosting package. As your site grows in popularity, and your traffic increases, you can always talk to your host about upgrading to a package with higher bandwith limits.
From my own experience, brand new websites usually take about 3-6 months of solid promotion before bandwith becomes an issue. Remember to use a host that provides in-depth statistics reports, and monitor your web site activity regularly. Watch for trends, and base your judgements on your results.
Ginger Geracitano offers her experience as a Web Designer and Business & Marketing Coach through her weekly E-Zine, The Portal To Success. Subscribers receive tips, strategies, and her product reviews every Friday. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org