Web hosting is an extremely competitive market and catchy promotional advertisements attract more business. Companies offering “unlimited bandwidth” are a popular marketing ploy, and all consumers should know the facts.
Bandwidth is the amount of data to and from your website. There is no such thing as “unlimited bandwidth.” No data centers offer Internet connections of “unlimited megabytes per second.” How could a web hosting company do it? Computer services and backups would collapse if all customers used all of their bandwidth allowances to the max. Bandwidth costs money, and a company has to meet their costs. The more megabytes (or gigabytes or terabytes) a company gives, the less money they make, but many of these companies merely play the odds.
Let’s take an example of an airline that has 250 seats and sells tickets for 300
seats. Of course, that is overselling, but the airline bets that some passengers
will not show up or cancel. Obviously 300 passengers could not fit on the plane
at one time. The same risk is taken by some web hosts. They know that most customers
will not use all of their bandwidth. If ABC company offers 2,000GB of space and
20,000GB of bandwidth, they are predicting that 90% of their customers will not
use more than 20% so the company can accept more, and thus overselling. Often the
number one reasons for costly site outages are companies that oversell their bandwidth
and jeopardize server performance. Normally there are no refunds because a company
can claim the website violated their “Acceptable Use Policy” or Terms of Service.
Companies have the right to suspend any customer who abuses their resources. Always
watch out for hidden charges if you surpass your limit, and make sure you study
the fine print.
In order to figure out how much bandwidth one might need, the first few months will
be very important. The sum of your files, the size and html per page; multiply with
the number of visitors per month should give you a rough estimate:
- How many visitors will access your site?
- How many pages are you planning to create and use for access?
- How large will graphics, html files?
One has to remember that large audio, video files and programs along with Flash
websites, virtual reality, and audio/visual presentations typically use more bandwidth
than normal websites. It’s always best to signup with a reputable company; you do
get what you pay for, and if the offer seems too good to be true, it is very likely
that your site will suffer. The competency of the company can make the difference,
so why take a chance?