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How Much RAM / Bandwidth / Disk Space Do I Really Need?

If you’ve ever been shopping for a server or a web host, then you know exactly how often this question comes up. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for the perfect dedicated host, or just a shared provider that will snuggle up well with your personal blog: At some point, you’ll start to worry about the amount of available RAM, bandwidth, and disc space. If you take a look around, you’ll very quickly come to realize that most providers offer a wealth of plans, each with diverging selling points where these hardware pieces are concerned. In essence, it’s a jungle out there.

Before you panic and purchase too much—or worse, too little—of each, though, let us guide you through the questioning process. We know a bit about server load, and considering we’ve put them together below, you might as well use our server statistics tips to guide you through the shopping blues.

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What Does Your Five Year Look Like?

Right off the bat, it’s worth considering what you actually want to do with your website. Are you using your chunk of the Web to hock product, or are you posting daily content to a news bog about kittens? Will you be hosting information about your multimillion dollar corporation, or are you just creating a personal portfolio for your design gig?

Consider the Scalability

Once you’ve got the exact five year plan of your project in mind, consider how hard it would be to compensate for unexpected growth within your target market. In other words, the question is not so much how much RAM, bandwidth, and disk space you need, but how hard it will be to get more later. If your business takes off in a massive way, will you be able to upgrade quickly to match pace? If not, starting out large may be a better course of action. If your personal blog is not likely to garner much attention, and smaller specifications will match your initial need, it’s a safe bet that going budget will be an ideal solution.

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Remember too that it’s easier to scale up when using shared hosting than it is with dedicated hosting. You can always bump your plan up a tier at HostGator, but adding more disk space to your dedicated server may be much more costly. Always keep the budget in mind, but don’t short change yourself in the future by staying cheap.

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2 Comments

  • Avatar for Ian Ian says:

    I know it’s an old post. Just found it researching this very thing. I have to say I agree with Scott. This doesn’t answer any questions like will my company wordpress site be ok on a $5 per month plan if it gets 2000 requests? 5000 requests? Should I pay $20 for a mediatemple grid? Nobody seems to be able to answer simple questions like this. Imagine you are on a budget, forget 5 years because scaling is easy these days. What do I need right now to get this off the ground and pull in come clients so I can afford to scale when I need to. That is the important question IMHO.

  • Avatar for scott scott says:

    You asked the questions – but you didn’t provide any answers! how DO I evaluate how much memory etc I need on a shared hosting server? Would be helpful to hear “20 photos – you need xyz, each page zxc, etc”

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