It’s always useful to know how much bandwidth your blog actually uses to deliver your precious posts to your loyal readers. Although most popular hosting companies offer unlimited bandwidth, there are times like speeding up your blog when you really need to know how much gigabytes per month or per day get transferred from your blog. The latest trend in speeding up a blog is called Content Delivery Network. In simple words your blog is mirrored to several servers across the globe and visitors view a cached version of the blog saved in the nearest server, leading to substantially lower loading times. Before you sign up with a CDN service though, bloggers have to calculate their blogs’ bandwidth in order to determine the CDN cost.
Many websites include the necessary calculations – and assumptions – you need to make in order to calculate your blog’s bandwidth. Take the number of pageviews per month, multiply by the average size of your blog’s pages and then double up that figure. So, if your blog gets 20K pageviews each month and the average page’s size is 1MB, your blog uses 40GB/mo in bandwidth. However, due to web browsers’ caching function the real number drops to 3-5GB/mo for a blog that accommodates 50-300 visitors a day. Google Chrome’s developer tools come in handy here, as they provide both the loading times and size of any loaded web page. You should empty the cache from Chrome’s history for best results.
If you are not fond of manually calculating your blog’s bandwidth, there’s help available. If your hosting provider offers the Cpanel service, you will most likely find that your blog’s bandwidth is tracked daily along with other traffic details by Awstats. For instance, my financial blog, tradinggraphs.com, used about 5.5GB on average per month last year.
Cpanel though offers another useful graph regarding bandwidth. There’s an icon titled “Bandwidth” in the Logs section and clicking on that brings up an even more clear view of your blog’s activity. Since I host multiple domains with Hostgator, I was presented with the total bandwidth stats of all of my blogs or websites. My domains’ bandwidth averages at 2GB/day, meaning that the annual bandwidth for my blogs is around 700GB. Obviously we are only interesting in HTTP transfers.
How does bandwidth determine how much money bloggers need to pay for speeding their blogs? A CDN service charge their clients in terms of terabyte transferred from their servers. More specifically bloggers can compare different CDN plans where cost per GB is usually shown. For example, Amazon CloudFront costs $0.12/GB in US and Europe – more expensive in Asia and South America – while over at MaxCDN they charge $0.07/GB in US. Bloggers can also make use of a CDN for free called CloudFlare, but you know what they say: You get what you pay for. Reviews about the free CloudFlare may be positive, but they also note the superiority of paid-for CDN’s.
In conclusion, using a CDN to speed up all the domains I host with Hostgator would cost me about $50/year. And determining my blogs’ bandwidth helped me reach that conclusion.