May 30, 2007

500GB/Month of bandwidth. How fast is that, really?

Gimmee Bandwidth Bumper StickerRecently, I was evaluating ISP’s for my hosting requirements. If you take a gander at 1-and-1, or most of the providers on the Personal Colocation site (and almost every other hosting provider in the world) they apportion your bandwidth in GB per month. Exactly what does this mean to people that are more familiar with buying bandwidth by the circuit? Exactly how much bandwidth is 500GB/Month? Is that equivalent to T1 internet (DS1 or E1 for you euros?)

I’ve thrown together a little calculator for you to do some rudimentary math. Assuming an average of 30 days in a month, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute. While the math is fairly straight-forward, it is by no means 100% accurate. Some months have less or more than 30 days, and on DST days, you get or lose an hour.

You should also be aware that while you are given some amount of transfer per month, this does not keep you from bursting above what the calculator shows. The calculator shows a “sustained” rate of data transfer. If you actually only use 1Mb/s of bandwidth, but you have a transfer allowance of 500GB/Month, you will be able to burst above the 1.5Mb/s sustained on occasion. 1-and-1, for instance, allows bursting up to 100Mb/s, but on their smallest VPS plan gives you 500GB/Month (roughly a T1/DS1 circuit sustained.)

Let me know if I’ve missed something.


Editors Note: Jerry Gilreath is our senior open systems consultant. He’s also the kind of guy who writes a JavaScript bandwidth calculator just for the heck of it. Jerry runs the excellent Gadget Workshop blog for everything expensive and geeky. Check it out.

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  1. Jenny said,

    June 2, 2007 @ 11:07 am

    most web hosts offer fake unlimited bandwidth promises without knowing the exact calculations. this article might shed some lights to them.

    btw it is always better to measure the BW by the type of connection than monthly BW. if it is capped then we are ripped 😉


  2. Jerry said,

    June 2, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

    As Bill learned yesterday, it isn’t always about the amount of bandwidth… more often than not, the server hosting providers offer may not be able to handle the necessary load.

  3. samual wright said,

    June 5, 2007 @ 8:18 am

    Ya, Jerry is right. Hosting companies will “say” just about anything. But can they provide it? It’s more then just transfer rates. What if their connection is down or clogged? Some hosting companies are just a few computers on a T-1 line somewhere. Look for hosts that have many many connections to the internet with major Tier 1 backbones, such as UUNet or NTT/Verio, etc. Also, you have to worry about their backup power, cooling, and building security. Check out this company to see a list of things to worry about, besides just the transfer rates.

  4. » 500GB/Month of bandwidth. How fast is that, really? > Notes from Jerry’s Composition Book said,

    January 7, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

    […] This was originally posted over at EdgeBlog. […]

  5. Pig River Records said,

    April 24, 2012 @ 12:53 am

    I am just looking at moving onto a hosting plan with Host Gator at 500 GB Bandwidth.

    I’m really hoping this is an improvement as my old hosting offered unlimited but it was so slow!

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