The Essential Guide to Unlimited Bandwidth Web Hosting
- What is Bandwidth?
- Storage vs. Bandwidth
- Is Unlimited Bandwidth Really Unlimited?
- Cheapest Hosting Plans with Unlimited Bandwidth
- Additional Resources About Unlimited Bandwidth
- How to Fix Bandwidth Issues on Your Site
Modern life revolves around data usage. We use and exchange data on any device that can connect to the Internet including our phones, tablets, laptops, and even televisions. Bandwidth measures the maximum rate that data can be transferred at over a given period of time in bits per second (bps). Data is transferred any time someone visits a website, or uploads, downloads, or streams anything online. If you have ever watched a video that buffers every few seconds or tried to view a picture that won’t load, that is likely the result of low/slow bandwidth.
What is Bandwidth?
Think of bandwidth as a highway in a major city. If that highway is only two lanes wide, rush hour traffic is going to stay congested for longer than if it was a four or six-lane highway. Similarly, you will be able to receive data faster with a higher bandwidth rate (higher bps).
Web Host Bandwidth vs. ISP Bandwidth
Bandwidth provided by your web hosting company is more extensive than the bandwidth you receive from your personal Internet Service Provider (ISP). The bandwidth you receive as part of your web hosting plan includes what you do to your website like transferring and uploading files, content, and media. It also supports the amount of people that visit your site and what they do when they visit your website, such as downloading and streaming the content that you have made available.
Your ISP handles what only you do online. If you are trying to load several videos at once, have a lot of tabs open, and are playing a game, you may experience a slower internet connection because the bandwidth rate from your ISP isn’t high enough to accommodate everything you are doing. However if you are visiting several websites and only one of them isn’t loading quickly or properly, it may be the bandwidth rate provided by its hosting is too low.
Storage vs. Bandwidth
Storage and bandwidth both interact with data, but in vastly different ways. Storage space is where your data is stored. HTML files, databases, scripts, email, images, and any media associated with your website gets storage space on your web host’s server. The storage space you get from your web hosting plan is traditionally used to store files that are part of your website.
You can also use that storage space as a way to backup information that you have on your home or office computer. Pay attention to the amount of storage space you use. If you use all of your storage space, you will need to contact your web hosting provider and either pay for more space or upgrade your entire plan.
Storage is measured in terms of bytes (GB, MB). Bandwidth is measured in terms of bits per second (kbps, bps). However, download and upload speeds are measured in terms of bytes per second (MBps, KBps). kbps is not the same as KBps!
Bandwidth always refers to the rate at which data is transferred between the web host’s server and another Internet-connected device. Storage refers to how much space you will need on that server for your website. Storage deals with the size of the data, and bandwidth deals with how fast that data can be transferred.
How do storage and bandwidth interact? Think of your apartment as your storage space. Let’s say you’re moving to another apartment, and all of your stuff that you have packed in boxes is your data. The movers you’ve hired (or friends you’ve paid in pizza to help you) represent bandwidth. If you have 100 boxes of “data” and only three “bandwidth” movers, it‘s going to take a lot longer to transfer your things to your new place than it would if you had 100 movers to help you, i.e. a higher bandwidth.
Is Unlimited Bandwidth Really Unlimited?
The truth? Unlimited bandwidth, also referred to as unmetered bandwidth, are really just marketing jargon used to promote business. Unlimited does in fact come with limits and those limits are determined by the hosting provider. In fact, it’s impossible for a company to offer unlimited bandwidth – a dedicated line can only carry so much data!
When a hosting company offers unlimited bandwidth, you can use bandwidth without any restraint BUT that use must fall within the range that the hosting company can acquire. So the term “unlimited” is used loosely. The server(s) that your website(s) are supported on has limits, but it is unlikely that you (or most people) will ever exceed those limits.
The best way to avoid any violations is to estimate how much bandwidth you need, check out the usage policy, and carefully review the terms of services. The terms of service typically provides the information you’ll need to assess any limitations with bandwidth and storage space.
Do I Need Unlimited Bandwidth? – Do the Math!
People want to be able to have their desired content on their website without worrying about a low bandwidth. But how much bandwidth do you really need? Below is a simple three-step formula to calculate your estimated bandwidth. Once you know how much bandwidth your website needs, you can make better decision in finding the right web host.
The formula is pretty basic:
- Find out how big your average page is in KB (kilobytes). For example, let’s say the average size of each page on your website is about 210KB.
- Multiply this by your average number of visitors per month. If you have 15,000 monthly visitors, then you get about 3.15GB.
- Multiple this by the number of pages viewed by each person. If each person views about 10 pages, then you’ll need about 32GB of bandwidth at a minimum.
NOTE: If you allow visitors to download files, you’ll also need to know the average number of downloads per day and the average file size and factor that in. If you’re launching a new website, it’s a little difficult to determine how much bandwidth you’ll need. Your best bet is to monitor your site’s traffic for the first few months and then determine monthly usage. You can always adjust as your site grows.
Cheapest Hosting Plans with Unlimited Bandwidth
Have you determined you’ll need a hosting plan with unlimited bandwidth? Or perhaps you’re still unsure but want to research your options anyway? Below is a list of hosting providers that offer unlimited bandwidth. We’ve also included links to additional information and a few helpful tutorials.
|Hosting Provider||Provider Overview||User Resources|
|HostGator||HostGator takes pride in making web hosting easy for their clients with 24/7/365 support, 99.9% uptime, and 45-day money back guarantee. They offer a myriad of hosting packages, each of which offer unmetered storage and bandwidth.|
|BlueHost||Bluehost offers equally secure Shared, Dedicated, Reseller, and VPS Hosting plans, many of these plans come with 100 or more email accounts and 24/7 support, as well as optional add-ons like spam protection, SSL certificates, and SiteLock.|
|Just Host||Just Host offers unlimited disc space, email accounts, and unlimited domains in any of their Shared or VPS web hosting plans along with a variety of free website scripts, project management, social networking, and blog support scripts.|
|iPage||iPage users can take advantage of a secure infrastructure, budget-friendly plans, and 24/7 US-based customer support via phone and online chat with NO cap on the disk space.|
|UK2||UK2 allows users to host multiple websites, unlimited hosting, shared hosting, eCommerce hosting along with speedy software installation in one just click. Based in Shoreditch, London, UK2 is Britain’s local web hosting company but is also part of the UK2 Group, which has hosting brands in America.|
|FatCow||FatCow offers a variety of features including, cloud storage, email perks, marketing credits, eCommerce and other website tools, and plenty of storage, if not unlimited, for all hosting options.|
|GreenGeeks||GreenGeeks is a green and clean web hosting provider with a 99.9% uptime guarantee with all-inclusive web hosting plans, meaning that they come with unlimited web space, data transfers, and domains along with free marketing tools, free website, and domain transfers.|
|PowWeb||PowWeb offers unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and hosted domains along with Google and Yahoo! advertising credits, a point and click site builder, and a free domain, all with their 30 day money-back guarantee.|
|IPOWER||IPOWER provides 100% wind powered web hosting to all of their Shared, VPS, and Dedicated plans, with many packages offering a free domain name registration, unlimited space, personalized email, and free marketing credits for Google, Facebook, and Yahoo!|
|Web Hosting Pad||Web Hosting Pad offers hassle-free hosting with a code-free website builder, free website transfers, and WordPress hosting plans for bloggers along with unlimited space, 24/7 support, a 30 day money-back guarantee, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.|
Additional Resources About Unlimited Bandwidth
There’s a lot of information about unlimited bandwidth and how to choose the right hosting plan based on your site’s needs. We’ve sorted through many of these resources to help you find accurate and reliable information so you’re not left with buyer’s remorse.
- What is Bandwidth in Web Hosting? (video) – From the author of Web Hosting For Dummies, this video provides a quick and basic understanding of what bandwidth is, and how to calculate it.
- The Real Meaning of “Unlimited” in Web Hosting – While this article is overtly opinionated, it also brings up several good points to consider before choosing an unlimited bandwidth web hosting plan.
- Explaining Bandwidth and File Size (in 90 seconds) (video) – This fun video explains bandwidth and file sizes using a pipe and balloons.
- Data Never Sleeps (infographic) – If you’re still wondering why increased and unlimited bandwidth plans are becoming so popular, just take a look at this infographic that breaks down the amount of data that is used every minute by some of the biggest websites. Remember that more bandwidth allows for more and bigger data to transfer at a faster rate.
- Bandwidth and Data Transfer – Web hosting companies sometimes use “bandwidth” and “data transfer” synonymously, and this site aims to bust that practice. Here you’ll learn the differences between the two and how they each affect your website.
How to Fix Bandwidth Issues on Your Site
Even with an unlimited bandwidth hosting plan, it is still possible to experience bandwidth issues on your site. The most obvious solution is to upgrade your web hosting plan. Should you already have an unlimited hosting plan on a Shared server, consider looking into a VPS, Cloud, or Dedicated hosting plan to upgrade to.
When you have a bandwidth limit, disabling automatic downloads will save you from additional bandwidth consumption costs.
Shared hosting is great for smaller or new sites, but as your site grows in both content and web traffic, you will need more server resources than a Shared hosting plan can offer.
However if you would rather not spend the extra money to upgrade your plan, here are a few other ways you can tweak your site to improve your bandwidth:
- HTTP Requests: Remember that bandwidth is like a tunnel that data passes through. If you can’t make the tunnel bigger by upgrading your plan, then make the data “smaller.” One way you can reduce your HTTP requests is by combining all of your CSS into one style sheets page.
- Compress Images: Sites with a lot of high-quality images will likely experience slower load times, since those files are larger than low-quality images. Compressing your images allows you to keep quality content on your site and have the files take up less space on your server, which increase your loading speeds.
There are myriad other tips and tools available to help you troubleshoot any bandwidth issues you may be having. We have found several excellent resources that will help you improve how your bandwidth is used.
- 10 Ways to Speed Up Your Website – and Improve Conversion by 7% – Amazon, WalMart, Radware, and Akamai all conducted separate studies showing that slower load times lead to loss of revenue. Apply these 10 tips to prevent this from happening to your website.
- PageSpeed Insights – The is a free tool from Google Developers that will analyze your site’s performance on both mobile and standard platforms, and offer suggestions on ways you can improve.
- cPanel Tutorials: Bandwidth (video) – If you use cPanel to manage your website, this video will show you how to access the bandwidth charts, as well as discuss the importance of not exceeding your allotted bandwidth.
- Web Developer’s Guide: How to Speed Up Your Website – This is a two-fold article that will not only help you improve your bandwidth, but improve your site’s SEO as well.
- 10 Free Tools for Monitoring Network Bandwidth – The first step to improving your bandwidth is to figure out what the issue is. Here you’ll find 10 tool that will observe and analyze your site’s bandwidth.
- Pingdom Website Speed Test – Similar to PageSpeed Insights, this free tool allows you to see areas of your site that are both enhancing and detracting from your website’s load times.