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Data Transfer FAQ
    
What exactly is "data transfer" anyway?
Your website and its associated files are made up of data that is stored on a Web server's hard disk. When someone visits your website, their computer sends a request to the Web server for your Web page; the Web server then transfers that information to the computer that requested it. Simply, "data transfer" is the measure of how much of your data gets sent out to people who request it. It accumulates over the course of a month, and is reset to 0 on the 1st of every month.

Here's an example: Let's say you have a one-page website. Let's assume the size of the page as stored on a hard disk is 3 KB. Let's also assume that the page contains a logo graphic that is 20K, and a photograph that is 25 KB; this is a total of 48 KB (3 KB + 20 KB + 25 KB). Every time someone visits your Web page, 48 KB of data transfer is added to your monthly total. If your hosting package includes 10 GB (or 10,000,000 KB) of data transfer, your Web page can be viewed 208,333 times in a month before you reach your total allotment—that's a lot of pages views!

   
What is "bandwidth"? Is it different than data transfer? What about "traffic"?
In the context of website hosting, "bandwidth" and "traffic" both mean the same thing as "data transfer," and are used interchangeably.* We feel the term "data transfer" is the most technically accurate of the three, and that is what we use on our website.

*While many Web hosting company websites use the term "bandwidth" in their feature lists, that term is technically incorrect. "Bandwidth" is a measure of the total capacity of a network connection, not the actual amount of data that passes through that connection. Here's a way to think of bandwidth vs. data transfer: Let's say there is a piece of pipe with water flowing through it. Let's say the pipe is large enough to handle a flow of 9,000 gallons per hour, but normally has only 50 gallons per hour pass through it. The "bandwidth" of the pipe is 9,000 gallons-per-hour, and the "data transfer" is 50 gallons-per-hour. Don't be confused though when you see a company offering "5 GB bandwidth"—they actually mean "5 GB data transfer."

   
What is "rollover" data transfer?
"Rollover" data transfer takes your unused data transfer each month and applies it on top of the following month's limit. The rollover tally is month-to-month, and is reset at the end of every month (it does not accumulate indefinitely).

Here's an example: Let's say your Web hosting package includes 10 GB of data transfer per month, but in January you use only 2 GB. The remainder, 8 GB, would be added on top of your next month's allotment, giving you an effective total of 18 GB for February. In February you use 3 GB of total traffic. Your rollover would be 7 GB, giving you an effective total of 17 GB for March. Let's say in March your website gets mentioned in a newspaper article and your Web traffic spikes up to 15 GB. Normally you would have to pay for 5 GB of overage, but because of the rollover you are covered and will not incur any additional charges. In April you would then have 0 rollover (because you had exceeded your package's 10 GB limit in March).

We feel rollover data transfer is an excellent alternative to "unlimited" data transfer (see below). It protects you from occasional spikes in traffic to your website, while clearly defining the limits of what you are receiving so there is no guesswork.

Please note that rollover data transfer does not apply to reseller or dedicated server accounts.

   
I've seen other hosting services that offer "unlimited" data transfer. Why don't you?
In our opinion you should be wary of offers of "unlimited" data transfer, for several reasons.

First, it is technically impossible for a Web server to transfer an unlimited (or infinite) amount of data; obviously there must be a limit. The limits of how much usage a hosting company will tolerate are typically hidden in the "fine print" (usually in the terms of service or acceptable use policy). These limits are notorious for being vaguely worded; commonly, they state your website can be shut down for using "excessive" amounts of data transfer. How can it be excessive if it is supposed to be unlimited? Without clearly defined limits for data transfer, your website can be shut down with no notice, no explanation, and no recourse on your part.

Secondly, services that offer unlimited data transfer tend to attract a large percentage of high-usage customers. These can be websites with large file downloads or applications that can slow down a Web server and its network connections. By clearly defining data-transfer limits, we are able to monitor and control server usage closely to make sure processor loads are low and your website operates with optimum performance.

We have crafted our hosting packages to offer far more data transfer and disk space allotments than most people use. Additionally, our rollover feature helps compensate for spikes in traffic to your website should they occur. You know exactly what you are getting for your money, and we are able to provide the best possible performance and value for all of our clients with no deceptive advertising or mysterious fine print.

   
How do I know how much data transfer I've used in a given month?
The hosting control panel shows your data transfer totals for the current month at a glance. We also include a comprehensive, easy-to-understand statistics package that reports on a variety of data, including how many computers have accessed your website, which files were accessed most often, the amount of data transferred, and even what Web browsers your site's visitors are using.
   
What happens if I exceed my allotted data transfer amount?
If you exceed your monthly data transfer allotment and any rollover you may have from the previous month, additional data transfer is billed at $2 per GB.
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