The importance of improving website speed cannot be understated. Since the mid-2000s, when Google formally announced the inclusion of page speed as one of the most important determining factors in its search engine algorithm, it has become the single most essential point in ranking a website. Various stats suggest that a page loading time of more than 3 seconds can drive most of your potential customers away from your website. There are many steps which one can take to improve the site speed, such as reducing page size, compressing images, removing obsolete plugins and CSS files. But a lot can depend on the hosting type and the resources allocated for your website. The bandwidth provided by the hosting provider plays an important role in determining your website speed.
What is website hosting bandwidth?
Bandwidth refers to the rate at which data can be transferred from the server to the browser of the user. Usually, the hosting provider mentions the bandwidth offered in gigabytes per second. It signifies the capacity to deal with the incoming traffic and influences website performance along with many other factors.
How much bandwidth does your website require?
Most newbies select the Website Hosting type without doing any calculation for their bandwidth requirement, which leads them to regret their decision in the long run. The bandwidth requirement can be calculated using simple tools easily available and is mostly based on three factors.
- Layout: The layout of the website, including the number of pages, themes, and the size determines the bandwidth requirement. Smaller the size of the website, lesser would be the bandwidth requirement.
- Traffic: A new website can expect low traffic and can manage with lower bandwidth. However, a website which expects a high volume of traffic or a resource-intensive website such as e-commerce would need a greater amount of bandwidth to handle the traffic.
- Future plans: Websites looking to expand or grow in the near future should calculate their bandwidth requirement accordingly.
How to optimize a website to reduce bandwidth requirement and improve site speed?
There are many optimization techniques one can use to improve page speed with limited bandwidth.
- Caching your website: Browser caching refers to creating a static copy of your website and then producing that copy to the user when they revisit again. This prevents the browser from sending HTTP requests to the server every time a user visits the website.
- Image compression: Large images can not only increase the website size but also consume more bandwidth. Compressing them to smaller sizes without hampering their quality can optimize bandwidth consumption.
- Hosting video on external websites: Video streaming on your website can consume a lot of bandwidth. It is considered more prudent to upload videos on an external website and then embed it to your website. This process reduces the burden on the server and greatly improves the website’s performance.
It is clear that bandwidth influences website speed to a larger extent than one usually estimates. Therefore, it is important to calculate your bandwidth requirement before choosing your hosting. If your website is relatively new and generates low traffic, you can manage with low bandwidth.
You can also opt for a Shared Website Hosting plan with unmetered bandwidth, wherein you’re offered a set rate of data transfer (e.g. 2Gbps), but your usage isn’t tracked. This is a great option for new websites, wherein it is difficult to determine the bandwidth requirement.