To sum up, ‘unmetered dedicated servers’ enable you to significantly scale up bandwidth use by the server. It’s a flat-fee use of network bandwidth capacity within the uplink-determined constraint. Unmetered with Worldstream means unlimited bandwidth usage, with the limit determined solely by the speed of the network uplink being selected. However, that’s not necessarily the case elsewhere. When you come across an unmetered dedicated server offer, it may be a good idea to check the fine print.
When you manage a web property and are looking for a suitable dedicated server solution, you should try to estimate how much bandwidth your server will use now and in the future. On this estimate will also depend on whether you should opt for an unmetered dedicated server or not, although for several applications it is actually very clear in advance that an unmetered dedicated server could be the best option to choose.
Unmetered bandwidth can especially be advantageous for dedicated servers that are used for the intensive processing of data. High-growth ecommerce sites, and other high bandwidth web applications might benefit from it. All sites with a lot of data, media, or high-volume traffic would be well off when choosing unmetered connectivity, with examples of applications including ecommerce stores, news and broadcasting outlets, online gaming, tech startups, VPS hosting, file hosting, and backup server hosting.
Exploring the wide range of uses for unmetered dedicated servers
Let’s start by giving a short explanation of what ‘unmetered dedicated servers’ are exactly. As mentioned, ‘unmetered’ refers to the network bandwidth usage. Server bandwidth capacity that’s not throttled by common bandwidth consumption restrictions is referred to as having unmetered bandwidth. Typically, there is a predetermined restriction on bandwidth use when you buy a dedicated server subscription. In the case of unmetered dedicated servers, there is no such limit on bandwidth usage other than the restriction set by the physical network uplink. It’s a flat-fee use of network bandwidth capacity within the uplink-determined constraint. It enables you to significantly scale up bandwidth use by the server without worrying about a steep charge or sluggish loading times.
So, does unmetered always imply that an unlimited amount of bandwidth usage is being allowed? Well, when we say unmetered it means unlimited, but that’s not necessarily the case when you find an unmetered dedicated server offer elsewhere. Quite some hosting providers, regrettably, overestimate the capacity of their networks in the belief that their clients won’t ever fully use the purchased internet bandwidth. When you come across an unmetered dedicated server offer, it may therefore be a good idea to check the fine print carefully. Unmetered is a wonderful solution for various applications, but of course you need to be sure that an unmetered dedicated server offer genuinely entails limitless bandwidth use.
Critics may ask themselves, is it reasonable to assume that an unmetered dedicated server offering at Worldstream truly implies the enabled use of ample bandwidth? It’s a valid question, but the answer is already embedded in our infrastructural characteristics, which in fact speak for themselves. Worldstream has a global network backbone available with an immense capacity. Our clients worldwide have access to up to 10 Tbit/s of bandwidth. Additionally, we constantly keep the network usage at 45 percent, allowing unmetered dedicated servers and other network users to scale up at any moment to meet their evolving network capacity requirements. So yes, with that, unmetered dedicated server customers are assured that with us they can scale their bandwidth substantially anytime. It is therefore one of the factors contributing to the sky-high NPS/US customer satisfaction score (Net Promoter Score) of 74.
First, let’s clearly define the term ‘bandwidth’ before we go any further into how the port speed of a network uplink affects how much bandwidth you can deploy at an unmetered dedicated server. The term bandwidth itself doesn’t need to be explained to Worldstream’s tech-savvy customers. When discussing bandwidth though, internet traffic capacity and speed are frequently misunderstood in the broader market. Speed and bandwidth are quite often used synonymously, although this is incorrect. In essence, network speed is the rate of data transmission that’s made possible by a certain network architecture, while bandwidth is the amount of network space available on a backbone to support that speed.
Data transmission and bandwidth are occasionally also used interchangeably. In actuality, these are two quite distinct entities. The quantity of data that may be sent between the web properties and its users in a given length of time depends on bandwidth. So, it refers to the maximum amount of theoretical data you can handle in one second rather than the actual data being transferred. Data transfer, on the other hand, refers to the actual total quantity of data being moved over a time frame. Kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), as well as terabytes (TB) for the larger applications are the units of measurement in this case.
Bandwidth capacity is traditionally represented in bits per second (bit/s), but network uplinks nowadays have much larger capacities, which is why it is now expressed in megabits per second (Mbit/s) or even gigabits per second (Gbit/s). At Worldstream, the network uplinks available with our unmetered dedicated server plans now range from 1 Gbit/s up to 10 Gbit/s.
With an unmetered dedicated server, the server hardware’s network card is linked to a network port with the maximum speed in gigabits per second set to an agreed-upon bandwidth quantity for which the user pays a flat monthly fee. Thus, an unmetered dedicated server offering refers to a server that is permitted to consume the full amount of bandwidth available on the physical connection port on the network switch. Other than providing an upper limit on the bandwidth quantity, the network uplink with accompanying port speed has very little bearing on the amount of bandwidth that is accessible to a server. For example, it ought to be permitted to consume up to 1000 Mbit/s of network bandwidth if it is provisioned as a 1 Gbit/s unmetered dedicated server. This preset network uplink size is typically included in the pricing of a dedicated server offering. The cost of the unmetered dedicated server usually increases with the magnitude of the network uplink.
Estimating Dedicated Server Bandwidth Usage
When you manage a web property and are looking for a suitable dedicated server solution, you should basically try to estimate how much bandwidth your server will use now and in the future. On this estimate will also depend on the decision whether you should opt for an unmetered dedicated server solution. However, this can be a rather challenging exercise, especially when you have to make a calculation on future network bandwidth consumption by your dedicated server. In principle, if your web property is already generating a lot of internet traffic, then the choice for an unmetered dedicated server solution is easily made, but there will be borderline cases - whether related to possible future growth or not - that can make for somewhat complicated considerations. We will therefore briefly touch on how to map your current and future bandwidth consumption.
To say anything meaningful about your network bandwidth needs, you essentially need to know three figures. These include the following:
- First, the average web page size must be known before you can determine your exact network bandwidth needs. Load-time testing tools like Pingdom, GTmetrix, and Google PageSpeed Insights can be utilized to help you estimate the size of these web pages. Estimating the data volume for about 10 to 20 web pages might be sufficient, although, of course, the more pages you include in the calculation, the more accurate the result will be. Let’s elaborate on the rest of the formula to calculate your network bandwidth needs.
- Once you have determined the average size of a web page, you need to find out how many monthly visitors your site gets on average. That information can usually be found in the dashboard of a CMS or through a web statistics tool such as Google Analytics.
- In the same manner as tracking monthly site visitors, you’ll have to determine the average number of pageviews per visitor.
These three figures are needed to be able to perform a proper calculation for the total amount of bandwidth needed by a web property. When you have these three numbers, you can calculate network bandwidth requirements for a dedicated server solution you’re aiming to use. In fact, it’s not that difficult. The calculation formula is as follows:
FORMULA: Monthly site visitors x average monthly pageviews x average page size
It means that if you would have a web property with 15000 visitors per month, where the average site visitor opens 4 pages, and each web page averages 1.5MB in size, the sum for monthly bandwidth consumption is the following:
Example bandwidth need: 15000 x 4 x 1.5 = 90000MB, or 90GB
The formula for calculating monthly network bandwidth requirements has to be adjusted somewhat when a web property includes downloadable resources. In that case, the parameters for the formula are as follows:
FORMULA: Monthly site visitors x average monthly pageviews x average page size + average file size x average montly downloads
Bandwidth calculations for (live) streaming is a bit different as well. The formula is then: total sessions x session duration x bitrate, although then you might not really need to perform this calculation to determine the exact value of an unmetered dedicated server solution. An unmetered dedicated server solution would then be a good solution anyway, also when it comes to sites that offer video downloads through their services.
In addition, there are applications available on the market that let you calculate your bandwidth usage online, some free to use, some paid. Some of those tools can be found here, for example. However, it can be wise to keep the formulas above in mind so that you can perform a manual calculation as a backup. Be sure to account for unforeseen traffic peaks and future bandwidth needs as well. It’s a good idea to build in some redundancy by allocating 50 percent more bandwidth than anticipated.
Main Applications for Unmetered Servers
The absence of bandwidth restrictions can be advantageous for a variety of applications. In particular video streaming, gaming servers, high-traffic media outlets, high-growth ecommerce sites, and other high bandwidth web applications might benefit from it. In fact, all sites with a lot of data, media, or high-volume traffic would be well off when choosing unmetered bandwidth.
When bandwidth is constrained, depending on how many users are concerned, network bandwidth bottlenecks may frequently be visible and lead to an impaired viewing, playing, or other kind of streaming user experience. Unmetered bandwidth can also be advantageous for dedicated servers that are used for the intensive processing of data, such as servers that handle applications like databases and virtualization which demand high I/O throughput. Examples of applications for unmetered dedicated servers include the following:
- Ecommerce Stores - When it comes to applications that periodically may generate a lot of network traffic while also seeing significant fluctuations in traffic, unmetered dedicated servers can provide great levels of flexibility as well. This may for example be the case with ecommerce. In some periods, customer demand within online retail can be very high, while at other times it can be very quiet and limited bandwidth capacity is required. Unmetered dedicated servers do provide great flexibility as well cost efficiency when it comes to significant fluctuations in network traffic. Particularly for ecommerce applications it translates to greater flexibility and enhanced infrastructure cost management during busy online shopping times if a web shop is hosted with unmetered bandwidth. During peak shopping seasons like Cyber Monday and Black Friday, web shops may flexibly generate increased website traffic while avoiding additional expenses brought on by using unmetered dedicated servers.
- News and Broadcasting Outlets - When running a news or broadcasting site, audience reach is often a crucial element of such a platform. The more visitors, the better. And the more visitor engagement with a news site including page and video views, clicks, and perhaps downloads, the more relevant the news site will be. Of course, there are niche news sites aimed at one or more specific audience(s) or geographic region(s), but even then, the audience reach of such a news outlet will most definitely play a significant role. In terms of SEO, self-respecting news outlets will also make the necessary investments to maximize news site’s reach. This obviously has implications for the bandwidth consumption of a dedicated server hosting such as a news outlet. By opting for an unmetered dedicated server solution, users may keep bandwidth from becoming a news outlet’s growth constraint, allowing for further increasing the size of its audience.
- Online Gaming - Every millisecond matters when games are played nowadays. Players in online multiplayer games usually navigate through challenging graphical settings. All player actions and positions must be tracked and processed concurrently by the dedicated servers hosting them in real-time. The least amount of latency might cause players to virtually die and have a bad time going online in the game. It goes without saying that as a supplier of online games, a major goal is to prevent gamers on a platform from having a poor gaming experience. In addition to server requirements, a pleasant, memorable online gaming experience certainly also depends on the availability of network bandwidth. As a gaming provider, you probably want to serve as large an audience as possible, perhaps in different geographical areas. And what about unexpected fluctuations in playing behavior, or an unexpected great success for a newly launched online game? In these circumstances, unmetered dedicated servers are more cost-effective than a conventional dedicated server while covering risks when it comes to additional fees for bandwidth overuse.
- Tech Startups - Having limitless network bandwidth available with a dedicated server plan may also provide tech startups peace of mind that their solution’s performance and user experience won’t suffer and that they won’t incur unforeseen large network expenditures. It can certainly be a fitting server solution for startups with operations that are anticipated to increase quickly, or whose month-to-month bandwidth consumption can vary substantially. With often limited budgets, tech startups may encounter charging issues if you are unsure of how much network traffic they will generate. With a fixed network bandwidth rate each month, startups won’t have to be concerned about potential overage charges and unforeseen expenditures, while still guaranteeing infinite growth opportunities for their applications. So, it’s a safe choice. When opting for unmetered dedicated servers, tech startups never have to worry about the possibility of surpassing their network bandwidth use restrictions, nor do they have to bother calculating any fluctuating network bandwidth needs.
- VPS Hosting – If you are a service provider offering virtual private server (VPS) hosting services, you might wish to offer robust VPS solutions with lots of bandwidth capacity. To provide the low-threshold advantages of a virtualized server solution while providing an experience that is similar to that of a dedicated server. When it comes to the VPS user experience, a regular dedicated server hosting the VPSs usually comes with bandwidth restrictions, particularly when the noisy-neighbor principle is at play and one VPS customer’s high bandwidth usage affects another VPS client on the same server. With unmetered dedicated server solutions, VPS service providers do not run the risk of network bandwidth becoming a limiting factor for the VPS user experience. It also enables service providers to pass on the unmetered dedicated server’s flexible bandwidth and cost-saving features to the VPS solutions being hosted.
- File Hosting - A file hosting service is another application that can benefit tremendously from an unmetered dedicated server solution. The high unlimited network bandwidth offers great flexibility in network capacity and guaranteed available bandwidth at peak loads. Some examples of resources that can be uploaded and downloaded through file hosting services include videos, photos/images, software, audio, tutorials, e-books, and manuals. Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Box, and MediaFire are some of the globally well-known examples of file hosting services, but the principle of file hosting can be found in all shapes and sizes in the market. When users of a file hosting service upload or download their resources to or from the file hosting service provider’s network, the server will repeatedly consume network bandwidth. When many users are involved, a significant amount of network bandwidth may be used. Being a supplier of such services, you must also be prepared for the fact that there may be strong fluctuations in the usage of the file hosting services, something a dedicated server solution must be able to facilitate. Unmetered dedicated servers offer the ultimate solution to meet this desired scalability and flexibility in network bandwidth for file hosting.
- Backup Server Hosting – It is relevant to every business, making back-ups of applications and data. Service providers, SMBs, and enterprises can use hosted backup servers for this purpose and unmetered dedicated servers may represent an interesting option for this use. The network bandwidth required to fully backup an IT infrastructure or website is a key component of backup because these backups are typically conducted online. If sufficient bandwidth capacity is available, then a backup will be able to take place smoothly and flawlessly. Depending on the number of users of a backup server, the backup frequency, and the size of the IT infrastructure or website in question, the amount of bandwidth required will have to be estimated when using a backup server. But how do you accurately estimate that? Bandwidth needed for a real-time backup is obviously considerably more compared to a monthly backup. Additionally, a larger firm with a more complex IT infrastructure will obviously need more bandwidth than a smaller organization. However, it is also possible for backup server providers to experience significant consumption fluctuations, which can make it quite challenging to predict the required bandwidth in advance. Unmetered dedicated servers offer the ultimate solution in that case, both in terms of available bandwidth and controlling the costs by having a lot of bandwidth available at a fixed price.
Worldstream’s Dedicated Servers
Global IaaS provider Worldstream offers dedicated servers in two varieties: fully customizable servers and fixed instant delivery server configurations. We currently have more than 15,000 dedicated servers installed for our clients in Worldstream’s data centers in the Netherlands (Naaldwijk) and Germany (Frankfurt). These dedicated servers are backed by Worldstream’s proprietary global network with a staggering 10 Tbit/s of bandwidth capacity available. The maximum bandwidth consumption on this network is only 45%, giving server users optimal scalability and DDoS defense guarantees.
Curious about the dedicated servers offered by Worldstream IT Infrastructures? Discover them right here.
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