What is bandwidth and what are your limits?

Bandwidth can have many definitions relating to internet usage. When talking about web hosting, bandwidth is the amount of bytes that is transmitted from the web server which has your web page files to the visitor's web browser. The larger the file size being transmitted, the more bandwidth it consumes. For example, the highest amount of bandwidth is usually used when displaying larger graphics on a web page or if a visitor downloads .zip or other binary files stored in your web space.

The larger the file, the more effort a server will need to take to "serve" the file (or send it) to the visitor's computer. This puts more load on the server. The server is quite fast and robust, so this is usually of no real concern to the web site owner. However, sites which have very large files or a large amount of visitors downloading or viewing large files may cause the server to start to slow down. This can cause the web site (and others hosted on that particular server) to become slow to load or even inaccessible altogether.

To keep the bandwidth within reasonable amounts so that the server can work fast, some services charge for or restrict the amount of bandwidth that is used. For example, you may have seen some places advertise that you get 1 Gig of bandwidth per month. This means that no more than 1 Gigabyte of data (total files including binary and graphic files) can be transferred from your web site to a visitor's web browser in a month without possible extra charges or the site being shut down until the next month.

Active Web Hosting does not charge for bandwidth usage, so you need not worry about paying extra for the amount of files being transferred from your web site. However, we do use a bandwidth monitor on our servers. This monitor uses a balancing technology.

How The Bandwidth Monitor Works

The bandwidth monitor is a totally automated process which adjusts itself each hour. It will analyze the usage of all domains that are online and also the available free bandwidth on our line. Every domain is then adjusted to use what free unused bandwidth that is available. During peak hours of heavy use from 10am to 10pm PST, sites may run slower since less free bandwidth is available. During non-peak hours of 10pm to 10am PST, bandwidth is turned up greatly on all sites.

Even so, sites that take up larger amounts of bandwidth may still tend to slow down. If your site is slowing down, it may correct itself in an hour or so, especially if you are aware of your domain's site usage and have taken action to correct any bandwidth-extensive files or directories. To learn more about how to best optimize your site and ways to make it run faster, please see Why is my site running slow?

What is done with domains that use too much bandwidth?

If a site is found to be using excessive bandwidth, then the bandwidth monitor will place a filter on that domain and will only allow 1 concurrent connection to the domain at only 1 kilobyte per second. This not only slows the site to unusable, but flags the domain for a site review. Note that this applies to your entire site, including both your CGI and Web servers, and any other sites you are hosting on your domain.

How does the site review process work?

During a Site Review Process, we look at any domains that the bandwidth monitor has flagged for review and check to be sure there are no illegal, or overly large files or any files not allowed on the CGI server (such as mp3, avi, zip, etc.) of that domain. Note that the CGI server has different allowable files rules than the web server. If we find any such files or content, we take the domain fully offline and email the domain owner a notification of the problem and instructions on how to fix the problem. The domain owner would then contact support@activewebhosting.com once they remove any files that were causing the problem. For more information, please see What do I do if my domain is restricted or taken offline?

Active Web Hosting takes these measures so that we can provide reliable service at a low cost by efficiently allocating all available bandwidth to every domain online. This also ensures that no one domain can hog a majority of the bandwidth, and that each domain will get their fair share of the available bandwidth.

For more information, please see the following: