How to Figure Out How Much Space and Bandwidth Your Website Needs
Published on 7 May 2015 | Last updated on 6 Dec 2016
Selecting a web host is a critical decision that merits a great deal of thought. There are several factors that go into deciding how much space and bandwidth you need. Once you have decided what you need, you have a wide variety of options to choose from: shared, semi-dedicated, reseller, virtual private server, or a dedicated server. This quick guide focuses on going with a shared hosting plan. Most likely if you were to go with one of the more advanced hosting options you would already know about figuring out your space and bandwidth requirements.
How do you know how much space you will need?
Figuring out how much disk space you will need really comes down to how much content you plan on putting on your website. If your site is going to be mostly text with the occasional picture, then you may be able to get away with a small amount of disk space, less than 1gb, maybe even just 500mb. If your site is going to feature a great deal of pictures and videos, then you will probably require a lot more space. The amount of pages, posts, threads, etc. you have will also determine how much space you will require. Also keep in mind if you are going to have a database for a WordPress site, an online store, a forum, etc. the size of your database(s) also factors into the amount of disk space you will require. Space is very much relative to your purpose for building a site, so consider your purpose carefully before choosing your hosting plan and establishing your website.
Most websites don’t need more than 1gb of space. ReviewHell.com is currently using up 576.16mb. If I was to create and store two full cPanel backups on my hosting account I would go over 1gb. So it’s a good idea to have some extra space (breathing room) for things you might not think of like backups, emails, logs, etc.
How to calculate your bandwidth needs
The amount of bandwidth you will require is heavily tied to how much traffic you expect to receive. The total visitors, along with the amount of space each page takes up, contributes to the amount of bandwidth you will need. In order to estimate how much bandwidth you are going to need, you can follow a very simple formula.
First, estimate how much space the average page on your site takes up (for example, your web page may take up 500kb). Then, multiply this number by the number of page views you anticipate having in a day (if you were to receive 1,000 visitors on a page that takes up 500kb, then you would have 500,000kb or 500mb). The final step is to multiple your daily bandwidth need by 30 to get the total bandwidth you need in a month (500mb times 30 is 15,000mb or 15gb).
Estimated Total Monthly Bandwidth = Average Page Size (including pictures/video/media) x Average Daily Page Views x 30
Be aware of the goals you have for your site before you start shopping for web hosting plans. Your anticipated monthly visitors when you first start out versus in 6 months, 1 year, and beyond should also be factored into deciding on the level of bandwidth you seek in a web hosting plan.
Unlimited Hosting Plans
You may be tempted to simply pick a shared hosting plan that offers “unlimited hosting” thinking that this will ensure that you do not have to worry about how much space or bandwidth you are using. Unfortunately, the term unlimited hosting is mostly a marketing term. Many different hosting providers offer an unlimited hosting plan option, but all shared web hosting plans, unlimited or not, actually have a cap with throttling when you use too many resources for a certain amount of time. What throttling means for you is if you use up too many server resources (CPU, I/O, RAM, Concurrent MySQL Connections, etc.) at some threshold level your site will get slower or your hosting account may even get suspended. Web hosts need to put these limits on server resource usage in place in order to keep their shared servers running smoothly for every user on the server. Otherwise if a single account is consuming well beyond their share of server resources it will cause issues for all of the other user accounts on the shared server.
Web Hosting Inode Limits
Many web hosts will have some set limit on the number of inodes (files) you can have on your shared hosting plan. An inode can be a file, folder, email, or anything stored on your web hosting account. So even if you go with a plan that has “unlimited disk space,” check for any limits on the total number of inodes allowed on your account. Most websites won’t ever reach any set limit, but it’s always good to know what you are signing up for just in case.
Inode Limit Examples
MonsterMegs – No Hard Set Limit
HostWinds – No Hard Set Limit
A2 Hosting – 600,000
HawkHost – 500,000
Namecheap – 300,000
MDDHosting – 250,000
StableHost – 250,000
VeeroTech – 250,000
InMotion Hosting – 200,000
SiteGround – 150,000
What Really Matters
Since there is no such thing as unlimited hosting, it is much more important to focus on how well a company manages their servers and how well they handle placing limits on resource usage. Regardless of whether you opt for an unlimited plan or a plan that has a set limit on the amount of disk space and bandwidth available, you want to go with a company that knows how to manage shared servers effectively so that things run as smoothly as possible. There is a lot that goes into choosing a web hosting company, but if you stay focused on what you want out of your hosting plan, it should become easier. Pick a web host that is honest, reliable, has great support and you definitely will end up much happier in the long run. Focusing on what you really require for disk space and bandwidth is much more important than focusing on marketing gimmicks.
Need more guidance? Read Review Hell’s Web Hosting Guide For Newbies!