All About Bandwidth

What is Bandwidth?
Bandwidth usage can be defined as any visit to a website that causes data to be transferred to a visitor (be it a customer, search engine, security scanning device, etc.). Anytime someone or something visits any website, it uses a certain amount of bandwidth.

define bandwidth

What to Look for in a Hosting Company
Every hosting provider handles bandwidth differently and not all of them are particularly upfront about their bandwidth usage polices and associated fees. Before you choose a provider you need to know what you are getting for the money you are paying.

  • Deceptive Practices To Spot and Avoid:
  1. “No Overage Fees”
    This statement sounds too good be true! Well, it is too good to be true. A lot of times companies that do not charge overages will cap you at a certain bandwidth usage. So say you are allocated 5GB of bandwidth. You will never pay for anything over that 5GB because when you hit 5GB the company will turn your site off. Therefore, they are not lying when they say you will not have to pay overage fees, but having your site down for a portion of the month or year is not a great trade-off.
  2. “Unlimited Bandwidth”
    Again this offer sounds too good to be true because it is. Some companies offer unlimited or outrageously high bandwidth allocations, but the trick is that in order to offer that kind of bandwidth the hosting they are providing cannot be very good quality. Think about it like this- say you are sharing a server with 200 other sites and everyone can frivolously use as much bandwidth as they want- the server is apt to get bogged down. Therefore, unlimited bandwidth is generally also accompanied by slow website load times, and frequent bouts of downtime. Again, an offer that looks so promising is weighed down by some serious negatives.
  • Features You Need:
  1. High Quality Hosting
    You want the highest quality hosting you can afford for your business because there is really no sense in putting time, resources, and money into creating and maintaining an ecommerce site if your hosting company is going to take away any chance you have to succeed by dragging your site down. Using a company that provides premium hosting no matter what level of bandwidth you are using is absolutely key!  Volusion’s premium managed hosting is closely monitored for consistency, backed up on a daily basis, PCI compliant, and highly secured.
  2. Semi-Dedicated Hosting Options
    It is important for small businesses to make sure that the hosting company they are using offers more than just the resources they need when they are getting started. The goal is to grow isn’t it? You want to choose a hosting company that offers small and large business solutions and a wide array of services so that if and when your company grows you have options to help support your business and you do not have to start the search for a hosting company all over again. Volusion offers both small business solutions (with as little as 1GB of bandwidth included) and semi-dedicated/corporate solutions (with as much as 50GB of bandwidth included) so that any business can find a plan that fits their needs. Additionally, Volusion’s ecommerce services range from domain name registration to merchant accounts for credit card processing to design and marketing.
  3. Reliable Technical Support
    The worst situation is having a problem with your website and not being able to get a hold of anyone to report the problem to or help you troubleshoot through it. The best hosting companies will provide 24/7 technical support and be able to fix problems and answer questions quickly and accurately. Volusion’s technical support staff does just that!

How to Reduce Bandwidth Usage

  1. Use proper image sizes and file types
  2. Minimize usage of downloadable files
  3. Limit flash/video on your site (or host it elsewhere and embed it on your site)
  4. Try to avoid importing and exporting very large files and tables frequently in the admin area
  5. Do not use host images with your ecommerce provider and use them on your social networks (instead host them on the social networks themselves)

For more detailed information please visit our Knowledge Base- “Tips on Limiting Your Store’s Monthly Bandwidth Usage.”

Learn more about Volusion’s bandwidth overage rates.
-Kate Pierce eCommerce Specialist

One Response to “All About Bandwidth”

  1. Benjamin

    I would like to see you guys offer extended bandwidth for a prepaid monthly fee, rather than overage fees. I have a dedicated server at [unnamed host] for $250 a month, and I get unlimited bandwidth. I don’t have to worry about a slow server or anything because it’s not a virtual server. Just because you offer unlimited bandwidth doesn’t mean everyone is going to use it.

    Being a tech, I know there’s more to it than that, but I would like to see at least a tiered monthly charge. I think you’re limiting yourself to smaller companies (maybe you want to), But, what if one of your customers grows beyond your bandwidth allotment? Would you not like to keep them as a customer, or would you be OK with them moving on to another host when they get tired of paying the overage fees?


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