There are a number of ways that your web host and the package you choose can affect your user traffic. Many site owners overlook one of the most obvious ways, however. This article tells you what that is, why you shouldn't overlook it, and your best options for making sure it doesn't adversely affect your visitors.

Picking a Host

You are considering which web host to use for your web site. You consider whether it supports your scripting languages — is it Linux or Windows based? If you do JavaScript, you want to know whether that is supported as well. You consider how much space you need. You also check the email options, the additional scripts, security options, speed, testimonials — you may even (rarely) fiddle with another user's control panel, before walking up to the sales representative and declaring the specifications you want.

Whoops! Missed a spot, or did I? It seems everybody misses this particular spot; I have listed everything that most people consider.

But as a web designer who does search engine optimization (so that you know where this article is coming from), I discovered that bandwidth is one of the most important design considerations you have to look at before picking a web host. I first ran into bandwidth when I was hanging out with an Internet service provider who metered bandwidth to its clients. This caused sluggish service, severe customer complaints and general heartache all around.

The bandwidth that a web site needs is in download bandwidth. This is how much bandwidth the site has available on a monthly basis for users. If this bandwidth ends before the month runs out, your website is inaccessible to anybody that wants to surf it.

A little design consideration

I have actually never seen a designer (during the design stage) mention bandwidth and how it could affect the performance of the site; all they worry about is the size of the site. When your bandwidth ends, your site users will be unable to access your site's page at all! This ought to be sufficiently disturbing to any web site owner. The majority of web sites never run into problems with their bandwidth, but those that do get to do all sorts of interesting things like buy extra bandwidth for their sites.

Most webmasters never consider how important bandwidth is until they start running out of it. Some then paste notices all over their site begging users not to save every page. Consider that it is the same bandwidth that is consumed by the user when viewing pages, that is consumed when the user saves it. Methinks the web master does not want every page on his site to be read for the sake of bandwidth; however I am sure that when the site was being uploaded the web master did not believe that he or she would have to spend extra money every month on bandwidth (and perhaps the money is not there; we will talk briefly about monetizing so that you can at least pay for bandwidth). We will talk about what you have to do as far as anticipating traffic and bandwidth. We will also discuss the best kind of hosting that will, over time, afford you protection against an upward surge in traffic.