When you launch your site online, you need to store it on a webserver and need resources to keep it running. The most basic resources needed are disk space and bandwidth. If you take a look at the web hosting services available, you will find that most hosts advertise certain disk space and bandwidth with each plan.
While choosing a hosting service, you can opt for the affordable Shared Hosting plans or look for a hosting server like a Dedicated Server or VPS Server Hosting. Another thing you need to determine is the platform that you need for your website – Windows or Linux. All hosting plans are usually offered in two variants to support both operating systems. For example, you can choose a Windows or Linux VPS Hosting service based on the requirements of your website.
Once you have decided on the type of hosting and platform, you need to pick a plan with adequate resources. This can be slightly tricky for a new site owner since determining the resource requirement needs some understanding of hosting technologies and how they work. Today, we will try to simplify this process and help you assess the resources needed by your website.
We will be focusing on two primary resources needed to host and run a website efficiently:
If you want to make your site available on the internet, you need to host it on a webserver. While you can buy a web server and host it in-house, it can be a costly affair. Hence, most site owners opt for hosting services where server resources are rented from a hosting company. So, in a hosting plan, the hosting company owns the web server and allows you to host your website on it. The way this works is that when an online user wants to access your website, he enters the URL of your site in a web browser. The browser identifies the IP address of your site which is the IP address of the webserver and requests for the files needed to load the page. Therefore, all files required to load your website need to be stored on the webserver. This requires space on the server called disk space.
How much space your site needs will depend upon the design and size of your website. While text requires minimal space, images, videos, and flash can be space-heavy. So, the first thing you do is determine the size of your website. Remember, websites that are very heavy take longer to load. This can impact their SEO scores and increase the abandon rates. After you know the size of your site, think about future expansion plans and choose a hosting service that accommodates your disk space requirements.
Bandwidth is the lifeline of a webserver. It impacts the speed and performance of the websites hosted on the server. Bandwidth is the speed at which you can transfer data, to and from the server. Usually, hosting companies offer a data transfer limit along with the maximum speed at which you can transfer the data (bandwidth). For example, a web host might offer a plan that allows you to transfer 50GB of data every month with a maximum speed of 50Mbps. This means that you will be able to transfer a maximum of 50GB data in a month at the given price, and the data transfer speed will never exceed 50Mbps. Here are some steps that you can follow to determine the bandwidth requirements of your site:
- Find the average page size of your website
- Estimate the average number of visitors per month. If you are launching your site, then try to look at the competition and determine the average number.
- Factor in the expected average page views per visitor
- If you are offering heavy file downloads, then estimate the average file size and the average number of downloads per day.
- Include some extra bandwidth for traffic spikes
The calculation will look as follows:
Bandwidth needed = [(A x B x C) + (Average Download per day x Average File Size)] x Number of days in a month (30) x Redundant Factor (usually between 1.3 and 1.8)
Remember, while estimating these resources right is essential for the performance of your website, opting for a scalable hosting service ensures that as your website grows, you can increase the resources in no time. It is important to choose the right type of hosting, the right platform (Windows or Linux), unmanaged or managed services, and the right resources to give your website a good start. Hence, research well and consider all aspects before buying a hosting plan. Good Luck!