Bandwidth & Storage Explained (In Layman’s Terms)

When I first started creating websites, bandwidth and storage were two things that I really struggled to get my head around, maybe like you are now.

Movie tickets and a box of popcorn on it's sideAnd do you think I could find a simple explanation anywhere online?


Yet each time I tried to sign up with a particular hosting company or website builder, I was supposed to choose which plan suited me best even though I didn’t have a clue what they meant.

It turns out, that choosing the correct amount of bandwidth and storage is just like owning your own movie theater (at least in my head anyway), let me show you what I mean.

Bandwidth – It’s Just Like The Auditorium

Scenario 1: Let’s say your movie theater is situated is in a small town (you’re creating a site for a small business or project), and you expect a steady stream of customers each day.

The likelihood is, you’re only going to need an average sized screen, a couple of hundred seats (your website content) and a modest-sized auditorium (bandwidth) to house it all.

Scenario 2: Now, your movie theater is smack-bang in the middle of a major city. You have one of the largest, state of the art screens around, 1000+ seats, and you expect it to be packed full of customers every day.

Think a large popular photography site bursting with high-quality images or maybe an eCommerce store.

It this situation, you’d need a much bigger auditorium compared to the first scenario.

It’s the same for your website. The more media you add and the more people you expect to visit your site, the more bandwidth you’ll need.

Storage – Every Movie Theater Needs a Storage Room

Sticking with our analogy, you’d need a storage room for all that popcorn, drinks, snacks and of course, movie reels (they still have those right?).

Your website also needs a storage room for all of the text, images, backups, and files. The more storage space you have, the more files you can upload to your site.

How Much Will You Need?

Every website differs depending on the size and scope the project. I’ve left you a rough guideline below;

For a small business website with 5 -10 pages and 2 or 3 images per page, you’ll need somewhere between 2 and 5GB of bandwidth and 100 to 200GB of storage space.

If you have a blog with hundreds of articles, images on each of those pages, and around 10,000 visitors each month, you’ll be looking more at somewhere between 5-10GB bandwidth and up to 1GB of storage.

A high-traffic eCommerce store (online shop) selling hundreds of products will need anything from 20 -50GB bandwidth and 5-10GB of storage.

Did you know?

When putting together this article, I came across an interesting fact from the guys over at Hosting Manual, they said…

99 % of websites currently on the web use no more than 5 GB of bandwidth a month.

In all honesty, I had no idea this was the case so I’ve also learned something today!

Final Thoughts

I hope I’ve been able to clear things up for you here and not confuse you even further!

To be completely honest, if this is your first website, the chances are you’re not going to have a ton of visitors knocking at your door as soon as the site goes live.

With this in mind, it makes sense to start with one of the lower plans and upgrade down the road as and when you need to.

Important! Be sure your hosting company doesn’t have any clauses in their terms and conditions stating that you’ll be charged extra for exceeding your bandwidth limit. This practice is still fairly common.

If you’re still in doubt after reading this then my advice is to speak to the company you’re planning to host with. Explain your intentions both now and down the road and they’ll be able to help you.

After all, that’s what they’re there for right?

Lee Raybould

Welcome! I’m definitely no “techie” but I do have years of experience creating websites for myself and others. I created this site to guide you through this brave new world of do-it-yourself website builders and help you find the right platform for your business or project. So, kick off your shoes and make yourself at home. Oh, if you need any help along the way, just ask!

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