When you purchase a web hosting plan you are essentially allocated a share, specific or otherwise, of web server resources, and perhaps chief among these are bandwidth and disk space.
Bandwidth is a measure of data transfer and essentially determines how many people can visit and interact with your website. Clearly bandwidth is an important feature so much do you need?
Well, for one it will depend on the composition of your website; Predominately text based websites will require less bandwidth than a video or image sharing website. Similarly websites with few monthly visitors won’t need as much bandwidth as one that receives a high volume of traffic.
Disk space is analogous to the hard drive in your home computer, it simply provides a storage location for all of the files, pictures and videos which comprise your website, with larger websites naturally requiring a larger disk space allocation.
Unlimited resource packages are misleading. The name suggests that, should you so choose, you could create an infinitely large website and receive an infinitely large volume of monthly traffic as there is no upper limit to the amount of resources you can access.
However, this clearly isn’t true. Web servers are physical machines, not dissimilar to your home computer, and as there is no such thing as a hard drive with an infinite storage capacity there can’t be unlimited disk space. Similarly, there are no infinitely powerful internet connections, so how can there be unlimited bandwidth?
What the web hosts are actually saying is that they believe the average customer will use so little disk space, or bandwidth for that matter, that they can benefit from using the ‘unlimited’ tag as a marketing strategy without worrying about overall server capacity.
Unfortunately, one of the greatest pitfalls of unlimited packages is that they are frequently oversold resulting in a situation analogous to the tube at rush hour in that you have a server filled with unlimited hosting accounts often stretching the available resources to breaking point.
The majority of websites aren’t particularly big, usually coming in at or around 200MB, however the incorporation of visual media such as video or images can greatly enhance this number.
Many web hosts, ourselves include, offer different tiers of products generally following a small, medium and large format and if you can accurately asses the current scale of your website and broadly categorise it as one of the above then this is usually a good place to start.
If your website is currently hosted elsewhere and your looking to switch to a new provider then you can use the information currently available to you, i.e. page size, number of pages and number of monthly visitors, to accurately determine what resources you require.
If you’re purchasing web hosting for an entirely new website or one that is currently in development then you can achieve a good approximation of your disk space requirements by creating a mock page and multiplying this by the number of pages you expect your new website to contain.
Realistically, optimising your web hosting package is not critically important. For example, at webhostgb.com we allow our customers to up/downgrade packages or a single component of their package at any time.