Storage and Bandwidth: Estimate Your Space

Before choosing a hosting service, it is a good idea to estimate the amount of Web space and bandwidth you will need to comfortably operate your Web site.

What About Web Space?

Web space is the amount of data you will be able to store on the hard disk of your Web server. Generally, a Web hosting account contains somewhere between 50 MB and 1000 MB of space. The amount of Web space you will need depends on the size and type of Web site you intend to operate. Text (html) takes up very little space, while images and Flash animations require much more space. For first time Web site owners, it may be best to keep things simple and let the text drive your Web site.

A good goal is to keep your pages under 60 KB, including images. Since many people are still using slow dial-up connections under 56 Kbps, it can take as long as 21 seconds to load a 150 KB page, whereas a 60 KB page will only take them 8 seconds. Remember that 60 KB should be your maximum—it’s best to shoot for a page size of 30 KB or less.

Debating Bandwidth

The amount of data you are allowed to transfer per month is your bandwidth. This includes all uploads and downloads. Bandwidth depends on the amount of traffic your Web site receives and your average page size. If you have an average page size of 30KB and 20,000 visitors per month, you will need approximately 1.8 GB of space. Almost every low cost hosting package includes that much bandwidth, and 20,000 visitors per month is a very high traffic estimate.

Most new Web owners don’t need to worry about Web space or bandwidth. Only a very small percentage of people will have trouble with a standard hosting package’s Web space and bandwidth restrictions. One way to quell any worries is to go with a hosting service that allows upgrades. That way, if you decide to have a more complicated Web site or if your Web site suddenly generates a high amount of traffic, your hosting service will still be able to accommodate your needs.