Although much of the content online is still words, a viewer can click on links, zoom in and out, download files, and in general interact with the material on the web in a lot more ways than are possible with a book or printed article. This is what makes the Internet so dynamic and engaging.
This interactivity is made possible by the transfer of data from the server that hosts the web content and the viewer’s computer. (A server is just a special kind of computer that hosts web sites and other content that is available on the web.)
What is bandwidth?
When you pay for web hosting, you are usually assigned a set amount of space to store your files and content, and a set amount of data transfer per month. This data transfer is generally referred to as bandwidth.
Bandwidth (definition): bandwidth, or monthly data transfer, is the amount of data transferred to or from a website (or server) during a month.
Playing video and audio files, and downloading software and ebooks are some of the biggest users of bandwidth. So, if your website includes any of these options for your visitor, you are going to want to take a close look at the bandwidth being used on your site.
Get out the contract that you signed with your web host. Look at the listing for the fees per month that you are paying. In this section, it will specify exactly what you are to receive for your fee and this is where your bandwidth will be stated. These limits are likely to be stated in GB. GB or Gigabyte, is 1000 Megabytes (MB). To get an idea of how many files you can host in a 2 GB plan, see the chart at the end of this article.
Why should you care?
Your web host will not deny you access to increased bandwidth should you go over, but it could cost you (remember cell phone overages?). Therefore, unless your plan includes unlimited bandwidth, the best option is to host your audio/video and down-loadable files on a file sharing site, such as Screencast.com or Viddler.com.
Using a file sharing site will better enable you to manage the cost of sharing your files with the world, plus add features that protect them from unauthorized download — features that more than justify the small amount of extra work involved in getting your account set up and linked to your website.
|File (type)||Size of individual file||Number of files in 2 GB|
|5 page document (pdf)||2 MB||1000|
|4 minute song (WMA)||4 MB||500|
|one hour audio recording (WAV)||5 MB||400|
|30 minute screen capture video (flash)||30 MB||60|