Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred from your web host.
Each time someone accesses a page or file from your site, it has to be transferred over the Internet and downloaded to the person's computer. (If it is a web page, the person's web browser, such as Internet Explorer, will then display the downloaded page.) If you add up all the data transferred from your web site, you get the amount of bandwidth used by your site.
Web hosts typically give you a certain amount of bandwidth for free with your account each month (although sometimes it is a daily limit.) They usually measure the amount of bandwidth in Gigabytes (GB). 1 GB is approximately 1,000 Megabytes (MB), and 1 MB is approximately 1,000 Kilobytes (KB). Therefore, 1 GB is approximately 1,000,000 KB. By taking the size of your pages and how much bandwidth your web host gives you, you can do the math and determine how many users your site could get in a given month without going over your bandwidth limit.
For example, on this web site, a typical page is about 8 KB. Each web page on this site also includes over a dozen other files, mainly images, such as the logo, pictures and graphics. These additional files add up to about 22 KB. Therefore, accessing a complete web page, with all the images and everything, uses about 30 KB of bandwidth. Therefore, assuming our web host provides 5 GB of bandwidth per month, this site could have about 160,000 (5,000,000 / 30) page views a month, and still be under the limit.
Plus images are typically cached by Web browsers, so they do not need to be downloaded by the same user for each page they access. Therefore, if you tend to have repeat visitors, or if a visitor accesses multiple pages that include the same images, your bandwidth usage will be even less and you can support more users per month with your given bandwidth allotment.
Our web hosting comparison has a column for bandwidth, so it is easy to compare the web hosts we list based on the amount of bandwidth provided.
If you are now ready to choose a web host, go to our Web Hosting Comparison to find a web host that fits your needs. Otherwise, browse the other sections of our web hosting FAQ to learn more about hosting:
If you want to learn more of the basics about hosting in addition to what was covered in our web hosting FAQ, please see our guide on how to Choose a Web Host.