How much is 500mb storage & 2gb data transfer?

TinaSC used Ask the Experts™
We have a site being built that includes "500mb storage" and "2gb data transfer".  Can someone tell me what that means?  

For example, how many pictures or files can 500mb of storage hold?  I know data transfer has something to do with web traffic, but I don't know if 2gb is good or not?

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500mb datastorage is quite enought, but 2gb data transfer is a bit small


Is data transfer just the number of people that come to the site, or is uploading/downloading files?  Also, can you quantify 2gb?  Meaning, is that X number of daily hits, etc..?
Hi Tina.

Web sites are built using collections of files such as web pages, which contain the programming that structures the site, and pictures, video, etc. for media content. All of this takes space, and the 500MB refers to the total amount of storage usable by the web site and its associated files. This total includes all files the web site itself requires to display, as well as files that may be linked to by the site for download and even files not in use by the site. This last one may seem confusing, but think of it like this: you can store files on the web server just like you do on the hard drive in your local computer. Some people use this as a way to give public access to a file for themselves or others. The important thing to know is that if it's uploaded to the site, it counts towards that 500MB.

In terms of pictures or files able to be stored, 500MB is not a great deal of space, but is more than enough for a small to medium-sized site with, assuming proper compression is used when saving the images, about 2000-5000 average-sized pictures. In terms of audio files, you may get ~500 average-sized mp3 songs (like you use on your ipod) or 10 or so videos of a minute long (video size depends much more than the others on the compression, as video files are *very* large before they are compressed).

Lastly, the 2GB of transfer is, I'm assuming, a monthly allowance. I can't judge whether or not this is enough for your site, but usually one judges this by the ratio of transfer allowance to storage space. For example, here I'd look at the 2GB, which is the same as 2000MB, relative to your 500MB of storage space, showing us that you can download 4 times the amount of storage space you have, if you filled the whole thing up. This also assumes that uploading the content to the server doesn't count against the transfer allowance (the 2GB), as some providers don't want you uploading a lot of content as some people do when uploads are not counted in the transfer total.

Back on track, most web pages containing basic layouts and a few pictures will not likely go over 500KB if they're properly designed for display on the web (sometimes people engage in poor practices and upload giant images that destroy their transfer allowance without them knowing it). If you calculate that your site has, say, 10 pages at 500KB each, you end up with 5000KB which equals 5MB of storage space. Divide this into your 2000MB (2GB) of transfer allowance, and you will see that even if a person accessed every page in your site when they visited, consuming 5 full MB of bandwidth (transfer allowance), they could still do so 400 times. So, if your site is relatively small, you'll be fine. If you have anything other than small pictures and text on there that is accessible to your visitors, you may run into bandwidth issues very quickly as the 2000GB won't do much if you get, say, 50-100 visitors a month downloading slightly bigger files (audio/video especially).

Good luck
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Thanks for the detailed response!  I appreciate it.  I'm going to leave this open for another day or two in case anyone else wants to chime in.  ~ Tina
As already mentioned these amounts are not very much. Make sure you read the fine print what happens when these amounts are passed. Some hosting companies charge you for every MB your website uses when the 2gb is passed.

For example:
I run a forum (phpBB) with about 50 members, each month they create about 4GB of data transfer.
If your website is purely text, maybe it's enought, but any other case it isn't,i think.

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