One of the most common things that you will hear hosting companies discuss is your site size. Usually, the reason they are discussing this is that in order to get decent SEO scores, you have to take into consideration the load times of your website. We briefly talk more about this in one of our other articles. But what about other factors such as Bandwidth usage, and Total Disk Space Used? Additionally, there may be email accounts too that are taking up valuable disk space on your server.
So how exactly do you go about the process of calculating just how ‘big’ your website is? What does ‘big’ even mean for a website?
First, we have to come up with a definition of what we consider a small website vs. a big website. Typically the metric that we use is a combination of your monthly bandwidth usage, the number of hits on your site, the total disk footprint of your website, and the number of registered users in your site database (if applicable).
Each of these factors plays a small part in the bigger picture that is your website. For instance, your website can have a large storage footprint, but only be a few landing pages with a few hits a month. Alternatively, you could have a very small storage footprint, with minimal disk space used, and be serving millions of visitors a month without a problem. Each of these sites is big in it’s own regard, but in the grand scheme, they are not the same thing.
Breaking Down The Factors
Disk space is the most common metric that is throttled by web hosting providers. If you’ve worked with a hosting company before, typically they will allow you a certain number of GB that you will have available to use for your hosting. This space is all-inclusive, including your databases, your email accounts, and your actual website files towards the final total.
For instance, you could have a website that’s 500MB and assume you’re only using half of a gigabyte, but have three email accounts that are 1.2 GB apiece. This would put your ACTUAL disk space used at about 4.1 GB of space used, which ends up being a pretty large amount of space for a site you initially thought was small.
Additionally, many web hosting providers will provide ‘backup’ or ‘snapshot’ services, which essentially just back up a copy of your website to your home directory, eating up more of your disk space in the process. This is typically why we recommend backing up your files on an external server, or at the very least, onto another system.
Your Final Site Size
This completely depends on the perspective that you want to take. If you want to look at site-size as a website host, you will want to look at the file space that is being used on your server, and the amount of database space that your server is using as well.
If, however, you are looking at your site from a designer/visitor perspective, you will want to look at the deliverable size and how much data needs to be delivered upon first successful load of your web page to a new visitor.