10 Sep 2018

Unmetered Dedicated Servers - Bandwidth & Data Transfer

Unmetered Dedicated Servers - Bandwdith or Data Transfer

Unmetered Dedicated Server or Unmetered Server is a term that describes a Dedicated Hosting service, in which a physical or a virtual computing instance is connected to a certain Internet connectivity port and the used data transfer isn't accounted in the service price.

The Difference Between Bandwidth And Data Transfer

There are two ways for the service providers to measure and bill for the Internet traffic (data transfer). They either charge for:

  • Bandwidth, which is overall capacity and speed of the Internet connectivity provisioned to the customer in megabits per second (Mbps or Mbit/s)
  • Data Transfer, which is the bits of data transmitted through the Internet connection port

Web Hosting providers usually contract any capacity between 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps on average (the larger ones lease any capacity between 10 Gbps and 100 Gbps) and then distribute it between their customers who usually pay for the data transmission in gigabytes or terabytes (GB or TB).

If someone buys a Dedicated Server connected to a 100 Mbps port, the overall capacity and speed of the Internet connection would be 100 Megabits Per Second. If a server is connected to a 100 Mbps Internet connection the overall data transfer that can be transmitted in a 30-day period of time is 32.40 terabytes (TB). Here is the place to say that if any provider advertises a dedicated server with 50 TB data transfer on a 100 Mbps port, this is a misleading offering, as the one who signs up could never use those 50 terabytes

The server instances provisioned in most developed Internet service markets usually come with a 1 Gbps Internet connection and a certain contracted amount of data transfer. One can transmit 324 terabytes (TB) of data through a 1 Gbps Internet connectivity port. A certain amount of those terabytes are usually included as contracted data transfer into the Dedicated Server Hosting plans. For example, an average offering for an entry-level dedicated hosting service in the United States looks like this:

  • CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230v6
  • CPU Cores: 4 Cores
  • RAM: 16 GB RAM
  • Internet Port: 1 Gbps Internet bandwidth
  • Data Transfer: 5 000 GB (5TB) or larger data transfer monthly limit
  • Storage: Certain amount of HDD or SSD storage
  • IPv4 Addresses: Certain amount of IPv4 addresses

What Does Unmetered Bandwidth Mean?

Bandwidth is a term that describes the maximum data transfer rate (also popular as speed) of the Internet connection. If a dedicated server is connected to a 100 Mbps Internet bandwidth port, it can transmit 12.5 megabits per second of data. On a 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps) Internet connection this rate is 125 megabits of data per second.

So, the term Unmetered Dedicated Servers means server instances that are allowed to use the maximum bandwidth rate of the virtual or physical Internet connection port. If it is provisioned as a 1 Gbps Unmetered Server, it should be allowed to use up to 1000 Mbps Internet bandwidth.

Most people who need a fast Internet connection with a large capacity usually want to avoid paying for measured and used data transfer because it increases their monthly service bill. The Internet connection used in the data centers usually costs anywhere between $0.50 - $0.90 per 1 Mbps (bought from the lost cost ISPs such as Hurricane Electric and Cogent) or $3 - $15 per Mbps (contracted with any quality Internet service providers such as CenturyLink, Level3, Telia, NTT, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, Zayo, KDDI, Internal, PCCW, TATA or any other similar Wholesale ISP). The price depends on the location and availability. Usually, the more central the location is, the cheaper the Internet connectivity is. Low-cost Internet connectivity per Mbps is usually available in the major metropolitan markets.

In order to provide 1 Gbps & 10 Gbps Unmetered Servers in Europe look like for example) to a client the web hosting provider has to reserve at least 1 Gbps Internet capacity. Otherwise, its network might get congested and the content and service delivery would be either delayed or done with a low quality. So, data centers and web hosts usually reserve more Internet capacity than their actual usage, as there are always traffic peaks when their clients need to transmit a large amount of data in a short period of time.

Unfortunately, there are a number of web hosts who oversell the capacity of their networks with the expectation that their clients would never use the contracted Internet bandwidth. It happens very often for people to ask for full a 100 Mbps or 1000 Mbps Internet bandwidth port, despite that their actual usage is much lower. Here comes the difference between quality and quantity. Our suggestion is:

Project your Internet usage precisely. This will allow you to get Dedicated Hosting with the highest possible quality at a reasonable price.

It doesn't make sense to ask for a 100 Mbps Unmetered Server if your average monthly data transfer usage is less than 15 TB. In such a scenario, you'd better ask for a Virtual, Cloud Server or a Dedicated server with 20 TB metered data transfer, rather than for 100 Mbps Unmetered bandwidth. If you request "100 Mbps Unmetered Internet Port" the provider has two options:

  • to charge you for the full data transfer rate, possible to transmit on the Internet port, which is 32.4 TB
  • to oversell their network and to sell you 100 Mbps bandwidth at lower cost, assuming assume that you'd never use it

Scenario (b) isn't something that people like to experience, as it will lower the quality of their service and the content delivery.

The best thing to do when signing up for a dedicated hosting service is to start with a metered data transfer and to secure a low-cost price per Mbps of the overage Internet traffic. For example, if any server is expected to use 10 TB of data transfer per month on average, it might be possible to go up to 15 TB in certain months. So, it is important to sign a contract for a reasonably low cost of each terabyte of data transfer above the 10 TB commitment rate. Then it is also important to monitor Internet usage.

As soon as the server starts going above 10 TB, go to the web host and upgrade the contracted data transfer limit. Once the average bandwidth usage goes above 60 Mbps (20 TB in measured data transfer per month), then it is worth considering using a 100 Mbps Unmetered Bandwidth port. In any other scenario, you'd either oversubscribe for Internet connectivity or pay a price lower than the reasonable one, taking the risk to experience network congestion at any time.