Most webmasters dream of the day when their website goes viral, leading to a seemingly never-ending stream of new visitors and business. Who wouldn’t like that? What many website owners tend to forget, however, is that all those new eyes on your domain may come at a price. The more traffic your website receives, the more bandwidth you use. And, just like money, bandwidth does not grow on trees. If you use more bandwidth than your webhosting package allows for, how and what will you be charged? Let’s find out.
What is your bandwidth allotment?
All web hosting packages come with limits, and that includes supposed unlimited hosting plans. When you buy a hosting package that is said to come with 10 gigabytes of space and 50 gigabytes of bandwidth, those are the limitations of your plan every single month. If you go over your allotted 50 gigabytes of bandwidth this month, you can expect you’ll have some sort of overage fee in your future. Unlimited hosting plans also put a cap on bandwidth usage, though you may have to look a little harder to find out what the exact numbers are. Check the Terms of Service for your hosting company, where such limitations are usually laid out, or ask your host how much room you really have to play with.
What happens when you exceed your bandwidth limit?
Every host deals with bandwidth overages differently. While some hosts may be lenient and understanding, willing to front you a little room for growth, other hosts may cut you (and your website) off at the knees. How does your host handle overages? A few of the most common ways web hosts handle excessive usage of bandwidth include:
On-the-spot upgrades: When you have this feature in-place, you’re able to add bandwidth to your hosting account through your control panel as it’s needed.
Bandwidth insurance: This service assures your website will not be taken offline in the event that you use too much bandwidth.
Ability to make bandwidth requests: If you’re on the way to using too much bandwidth, you can contact your host and request more bandwidth.
Account suspension: Some hosts will simply suspend your account when you reach your bandwidth limit, and charge a fee to reinstate your account at a later date.
Instant account upgrade: If you have the tendency to consistently abuse server resources or you exceed your bandwidth limitations on a regular basis, your host may automatically upgrade you to the next largest hosting plan.
What are your host’s bandwidth overage billing procedures?
How will you be charged for bandwidth overages, and when? If you’re able to add bandwidth to your account by yourself through your control panel, you may be able to pay for bandwidth in advance or have the extra resources tacked on to your next hosting bill. On the other hand, hosts who suspend accounts due to excessive usage may require you immediately pay your overage fees and possibly even a reconnection fee before your domain is put back online. Knowing how your host bills for unexpected overages can save you money, time and hassle in the future.
How to protect against overages and downtime
Uptime is still the most important factor in web hosting. If your website is offline, no matter how long, you’re losing potential readers and money. In this day in age it’s silly to have your account suspended for bandwidth overages. You can guard yourself against potential downtime and excessive fees with a little planning.
Know your host’s bandwidth overage policies. This information is found in your hosting company’s Terms of Service. If you can’t find it there, ask!
Monitor your bandwidth usage. You can keep tabs on just how much bandwidth you’re using by logging in to your hosting control panel or by using third party software.
Have an easy upgrade path. Whether this is bandwidth insurance, being able to manually add bandwidth to your account yourself or having the ability to scale your account as needed doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you can instantly and easily add bandwidth to your account.
There’s no greater thrill than having your website go viral. There’s also no greater shock than realizing your website has gone down just when there were thousands of fresh eyes on your domain, and all because you didn’t know about bandwidth overage policies.