Forum OpenACS Q&A: How many GB/month is enough..?

Posted by Rick Cottle on
I've been looking at the messages regarding managed hosting and
colocation options.  All of the providers have plans based on the
data transfer, typically in multiples of GB/mo.  Two questions:
1) Why do they do that.  Is this how the internet access providers
sell connections to the net?
2) Before one gets started, how does one estimate how much is
required?  What happens if the site is wonderfully popular and it
goes over the monthly limit?
For a point of reference, does anyone know how much bandwidth a site
like uses?
[sorry that was more than two questions :)]
Posted by S. Y. on
Short answer: it depends.

Personal anecdote: Way back when I had broadband, I was hosting a little site that averaged about half a gig a day (hundreds of discrete visitors averaging 7 pages per visit). It was static content (some rather long articles and tutorials) plus some images to prettify the site. There really was no way for me to estimate how many people would be interested in my site; I did noticed a substantial jump in traffic once my site was indexed by Google though.

Basically, your site traffic is going to be pretty low until you get indexed by Google or mentioned in some news site.

For managed hosting, there's typically some sort of metering involved that says X amount of bandwidth over 24 hours and Y amount per hour, and other stuff about the last 24 hours, etc. If you go over your limits, they will bill you at a higher rate, usually exorbitantly (which is their way of encouraging you to buy a higher level of service). If traffic steadily increases, you'll probably know when you have to buy a higher level of service. This is rather typical ISP behavior. I'm on the soon-to-be-gone WorldNet i495 dialup plan: $4.95 per month for 150 hrs. of access, but $0.95 per hour beyond that limit.

If you get slashdotted, you'll just have to live with a one-time spike in traffic and a bigger bill that month.

Ultra-cheap services (like the old entry-level virtual host accounts at will simply shut down access lest the traffic to your site deny access to others being hosted off the same box. will deny access if your site hits a certain level. Again, this is to encourage you to pay for a higher level of service.

As to, you should e-mail the folks who run the site. They post here from time to time. A long time ago, when the site was being run off an MIT machine, they had mrtg graphs, but I don't think the new machine has those statistics available.

Posted by Mike Sisk on
1. The GB/month is an easy to understand measure that most people understand. Network traffic is usually measured in kbit/ sec or Mbit/sec chunks, but unless you work with these units much it's hard to grasp what it really means.

2. It's hard to know--you just have to see what happens. Most of the providers beyond the budget hosts will give you a base bandwidth with burst. For example, you might have a 128-kbit/ sec base with a 10-Mbit/sec burst. If you get slashdotted you might be ok if the the 95% average of your usage (measured over a month, usually every 5-minutes) is still below your base. If you go over you have to buy bandwidth to cover your usage. Exodus bills in 1-Mbit/sec chunks while (last I checked) will bill in 256-kbit/sec units. is in the 5 - 6 Mbit/sec range, or (very) roughly 1.5 to 1.8-TB a month.