Whether you’re choosing a new web host, or simply curious about what’s “normal”, understanding web hosting space and how much you need is an important consideration when choosing a web hosting package.
All the files that make up your website determines the space requirements, of course – that is, the HTML files, images, scripts and databases. But your storage requirements go beyond the usual files, and includes things we don’t often think about, like email accounts, access logs, and third-party programs or scripts that may have been installed.
In the early days of commercial website hosting – around the mid-1990s – a typical web hosting plan provided around 25 megabytes of storage space. Whilst this seems almost unbelievable these days, if you coded it manually, 25Mb actually isn’t all that unreasonable for a simple, static website. But people don’t build simple, static websites any more, and when you include emails in your storage capacity, 25Mbs is woefully inadequate.
What is Web Hosting Space?
When we talk about web hosting space, we are referring to the amount of storage space a web host allocates on their server for a hosting account. Basically, it’s the same as disk space on your computer’s hard drive. Each server has space for a certain number of websites and all their associated files.
Web hosts typically list how much disk space they offer alongside the details of all their plans and pricing. You might see it referred to as “disk,” “local storage,” or “web space” but it all means the same thing – space is space, and it is typically measured in gigabytes (GB).
However, web hosting space is not to be confused with bandwidth, which measures the amount of traffic (essentially, the amount of data transferred to visitors of your website). Bandwidth is also measured in GB, but has no correlation with web hosting space.
How Much Web Hosting Space Do Web Hosts Offer?
The amount of web hosting space offers by a web host can vary dramatically. Looking at some Australian options:
- HostGeek’s entry level plan offers 0.4GB of hosting space for $4.58/month (billed annually)
- VentraIP’s entry level plan offers 5GB of hosting space for $8.95/month (billed annually)
- Netregistry’s entry level plan offers 20GB of hosting space for $9.16/month (billed annually)
Between HostGeek and Netregistry, you get 50 times more space for approximately double the cost! And that’s not to mention the hosting companies that offer unlimited space as part of their plans…
But without any context, it’s hard to comprehend the difference between 0.4GB and 20GB. For starters, how big is a typical website site? And what is a typical website anyway?
How Much Web Hosting Space Do I Need?
Just how much storage space your site needs depends on a number of things, including the type of website you have:
- An eCommerce site may have hundreds, if not thousands, of products
- An Agency or Portfolio site may be heavy in graphics and even video
- Music, video, app or gaming sites that are media-heavy will need massive storage
- News and digital publications may grow enormously over time
- Blogs and personal websites are typically quite small.
Let’s look at some averages. The managed WordPress hosting platform, Kinsta, has published data on average disk space usage, taken from a pool of production sites that have been hosted on their servers for over four years.
On average, Kinsta has found that the typical client uses approximately 1GB of data for a single WordPress installation. Keep in mind, though, that Kinsta do not offer email as part of their hosting plans.
So let’s take 1GB as the average size of a website, WordPress or otherwise. In our experience, that is a pretty typical website. One more task you are going to want to perform regularly is a website backup. In order to backup your website, you will need the same space again to store at least one archive of your website. It’s best practice to then sent the backup to an off-site storage service, like Amazon S3, Google Drive or Dropbox. But if you don’t have enough space to create the archive, the backup will fail.
So, as a general rule, you would not want less than 2GB of storage for a typical website. But unless you already have an active website, it’s difficult to estimate how much space you might need for any new project you have planned. You may find that the need for storage space grows more rapidly than you’ve anticipated, so if you lock yourself into a limited storage space plan, make sure you have the option of increasing the amount of space available to you should the need arise.