Disclosure: Your support helps keep the site running! We earn a referral fee for some of the services we recommend on this page. Learn more

Find a Hosting Provider that Fits Your Needs

      When you visit a website that loads slowly, you may wonder why your internet is not moving quickly. Not all websites are created equally when it pertains to hosting speeds. Learn what monthly bandwidth in web hosting is and, more importantly, how to determine what your bandwidth usage is and the different types of bandwidth.

      We will also review some of the best web hosting providers based on our research and answer frequently asked questions.

      Key takeaways:

      What Is Bandwidth?

      Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred in a given amount of time, like water running through a hose. The larger the hose, the more water you can provide. This applies to hosting providers and your website. To deliver your content to the end users, all that data must be sent down that water hose to the requesting user. If a website loads slowly, a bandwidth plan may have been superseded due to a high volume of users trying to load content on your website.

      It is crucial to understand how much bandwidth, on average, your website is using and how many visitors in a given period go to your site. Knowing this helps you select a web hosting plan that suffices for day-to-day browsing and gives your website a buffer in case of an uptick in traffic.

      What Are the Best Web Host Bandwidth Providers?

      These top-rated web hosts offer generous bandwidth at a fair price so you can balance performance with cost.

      Need a great web host?
      Save time and money with these top-rated web hosting deals.
      Best web hosting service
      Best web hosting service
      Best hosting for new sites
      Best hosting for new sites
      Best for small businesses
      Best for small businesses

      Why Is Bandwidth Important in Web Hosting?

      Bandwidth determines how much data can be transmitted over a network. The greater the bandwidth, the more responsive network can be. Knowing the speed at which files can be downloaded is critical when utilizing the fastest loading speeds and managing operating costs. So not having a solid understanding of your bandwidth metrics puts you in a very expensive bind.

      Lacking enough bandwidth brings your site down, thus costing you possible revenue. But having too much incurs a costlier monthly premium. Web hosting providers charge monthly for specific bandwidth speeds as there is wear and tear with more activity on your web hosting servers. Ensuring they remain up and running takes many resources, personnel hours, and money to maintain those data centers.

      What is data transfer?

      It is important to understand the difference between bandwidth and data transfer when viewing bandwidth plan options to fully comprehend which hosting plan you need to subscribe to.

      Data transfer is the amount of actual data transferred from your site, used up when images or videos are loaded on your websites or files downloaded. If your hosting plan provides high bandwidth usage but a low data transfer rate, your website may be down often.

      Types of network bandwidth

      The different types of network bandwidth are used for various purposes and are unique in performance, speed, and cost to utilize. Learn the key differences and understand which types are most likely associated with website hosting.

      Public wireless (4G LTE Mobile)

      Public wireless primarily belongs to the mobile device space. The Long-Term Evolution (LTE) tends to be more expensive as it requires limited cellular towers to carry the signal. Different speeds are tied to public wireless bandwidth. 3G, 4G, and 5G are all examples of public wireless, bringing more bandwidth to compatible devices.

      Public broadband

      Public broadband bandwidth is the most commonly used as it involves centralized cabling stretched out across vast distances to provide internet. There are three types:

      • Digital subscriber line (DSL): lower end speeds, usually run through telephone lines
      • Cable: midrange speeds through dedicated cable line
      • Fiber optic: fastest delivering GB speeds on fiber optic cable lines

      Private networks

      These are reserved for high-paying customers. Usually, businesses or governments participate in having their own secure personal internet contracts, which can be pricey and lengthy but offer the highest level of speeds (100GB or more in some areas). Companies setting up their own software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) usually directly agree with several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to have a dedicated internet pipeline.

      What is unlimited bandwidth?

      Be careful when jumping into a web hosting plan that offers unlimited bandwidth, as there is no such thing. It is essential you fully understand your website’s performance requirements.

      Web hosting providers have physical servers to maintain, which have a limit.

      The term unlimited bandwidth is a selling tactic to draw in unaware individuals or those new to web hosting. While the unlimited bandwidth sales tactic is not always a bad thing, you do need to be careful Some hosting companies are providing just enough bandwidth hoping people won’t notice it is not unlimited. Every web hosting provider should have some policies around what exactly constitutes unlimited. This must be researched to avoid potential bandwidth reduction or overage charges if too much bandwidth is used.

      How Do You Calculate Your Bandwidth Needs?

      Before selecting a web hosting provider, determine how much bandwidth you will need. In most cases, you will be able to look up exactly how much bandwidth your site is using through your admin panel.

      If you don’t see the precise bandwidth usage, or you haven’t yet launched your website, you can get a rough estimate by gathering the following bits of information from your site:

      • Average page size
      • Expected average monthly visitors
      • Expected average daily visitors
      • Expected average page views
      • Redundancy

      Once you have done the above metrics, multiply all five together to obtain your bandwidth. On average, most website pages are around 3MB. If your bandwidth is higher than expected, assess the amount of high-volume content stored directly on your websites. For example, if you have files stored on your website for direct download, that is a lot of data transmitted each time someone clicks to download. Instead of displaying videos directly on your site, insert a hyperlink to another site displaying that video.

      How do you check bandwidth usage?

      There are several ways to monitor your bandwidth usage. You can check with your hosting provider to see if it has a way to gauge bandwidth usage from the website’s admin channel. Also, you can check your live usage on certain web browsers.

      We’ll use Google Chrome to show you how:

      • To start, right-click and “inspect this page” or press F12
      • On the side menu with several different tabs, navigate to the network tab
      • Refresh the browser page you want to monitor on your website
      • In the lower right corner, you will see all the following metrics regarding your speeds:
        • Bytes transferred
        • Requests made
        • Size of each request
        • Time each took (down to the millisecond)

      The second method is the easiest way to check bandwidth performance on any page in a few clicks. You can easily capture your screen for documentation for tracking.

      FAQs About Bandwidth and Web Hosting

      What happens if I exceed bandwidth?

      To prevent exceeding bandwidth, it is essential to set usage alerts for every time your utilization hits 85%, 90%, and 95% — to provide you enough time to adjust accordingly. Several things can happen if you exceed your bandwidth. In the worst-case scenario, your hosting provider can shut down your site entirely, without warning.

      You may be charged a daily fee for the time you exceed your bandwidth utilization. Still, you will have a limit for unlimited bandwidth accounts; once exceeded, your allowance drops to the designated rate. Basically, you can use as much bandwidth as you need, up to a certain amount, then it will be throttled back to normal levels.

      What happens when you have low bandwidth?

      If you have a low bandwidth contract in place, you are limited on the amount of traffic that can visit your site within a given period. Low bandwidth is usually either free or very cheap to host.

      Still, you must fully understand your usage to ensure you avoid overage charges. If, for some reason, your website traffic increases rapidly, it may be shut down, or you can be charged a hefty overage fee.

      Can you increase bandwidth?

      Yes, most providers allow you to increase your total bandwidth for a price increase. If you need to do this, look for incentives or long-term deals to get the best bang for your buck.

      Can you reduce bandwidth?

      Yes, but be aware that some providers charge a reduced fee for you to limit your bandwidth or back out of your current contract. To manually reduce the amount of bandwidth your site is generating, try performing the following actions to limit bandwidth overages.

      • Compress images
      • Reduces the size of downloads
      • Use external reference links for file downloads or videos
      • Tune your Quality of service (QoS)
      • Set access restrictions to specific regions
      • Limit or restrict network usages of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

      Is there a difference between bandwidth and traffic?

      Yes. Bandwidth determines how much traffic is allowed within a certain period. At the same time, traffic is the total amount of data sent or received to your website.

      Need a great website builder?
      Save time and money with these top-rated website builder deals.
      Best website builder
      Best website builder
      Best website builder for small businesses
      Best website builder for small businesses
      GoDaddy Website Builder
      Best website builder for beginners
      GoDaddy Website Builder
      Best website builder for beginners