Bandwidth generally refers to the amount of data passing through a network at a given time. In web hosting situation, it refers to the amount of data that is transferred between your website and the server your website is being hosted on. Bandwidth is sometimes referred to as data transfer.
For computer networks, bandwidth is often used interchangeably with data transfer rate. This basically refers to the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period. The measure of bandwidth is expressed in bits per second or bps. Generally, a link with high bandwidth can carry enough information to sustain the succession of images in a video presentation.
It should be understood that a real communications path is a succession of links, with their individual and unique bandwidth. If one of these links in the communication path system is much slower than the rest, what we have is what they refer to as bandwidth bottleneck.
Along a communications path, some points have narrow bandwidth, indicating that not much information can flow through at one time. On the other hand, others can have high bandwidth, indicating that a great deal of information can flow through at one time. Wasted bandwidth is used in reference to the information flowing by a point which is of no use to a user because of bandwidth bottleneck. This may be characterized by an overloading of the site’s network connection or lengthy signature files in Usenet postings or discussion groups.
Determining the Amount of Bandwidth Needed
When choosing a web hosting service provider, the amount of bandwidth you choose is an essential aspect in the success of your site. As a general rule, more bandwidth is usually translated to a more successful website, especially when you have more traffic to handle at one time.
Determining the appropriate bandwidth allowance can be a tricky business. You have to estimate how big each page on your site is and how many people are going to view it. In order to do this, you have to add the size of every image on each page and the size of the page’s HTML files. Multiply this by the amount of views you expect per month.
Saving on Bandwidth
You have to be able to optimize the use of bandwidth as these are very essential resources of your website.
Here are some practical and useful points to consider:
You should always look at opportunities to keep your pages small as possible. You can have tight HTML programming to reduce file size or have compact pictures and graphics to reduce image size. Companies must consider using JPEG image format for your photos and the GIF format for graphics, as their compression abilities are excellent.
You can also save on bandwidth by using photos and images on your site that are actually stored elsewhere. This is done by replacing the file name in your IMG SRC tag with a URL. However, make sure that you have the permission of the site you are linking to before doing this. Failure to do this is tantamount to “stealing bandwidth,” which is considered as pirating and is, therefore, illegal.
Another effective way to save on bandwidth is through Cascading Style Sheets or CSS. CSS is designed to reduce HTML file size by attributing values for any HTML element/command at the beginning of the document.