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Avoid Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

Updated on October 4, 2018
Avoid Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

What is bandwidth limit exceeded?

The term bandwidth limit exceeded means that the amount of bandwidth that was allocated to the hosting plan has been reached. Bandwidth is consumed when data is retrieved from the server and delivered to the end user (outbound traffic) as well as when the end user uploads data to the web server (inbound traffic). All data sent from the site to the client and vice-versa gets accounted for as bandwidth usage. If the amount of bandwidth used exceeds the amount of bandwidth allocated by the web host, the browser will return a bandwidth limit exceeded error.

Certain web hosts do not limit the amount of bandwidth which can be used in a given month. In this case there is no need to worry about returning a bandwidth limit exceeded error, however there may be a surcharge on the amount of extra bandwidth used compared to what was allocated to the plan.

How to view ccurrent bandwidth Usage?

To view the amount of bandwidth that has been used in a given month will vary depending on your hosting provider. As an example, a 2 GB instance from Vultr for example provides 3000 GB of bandwidth transfer per month.

Although users have the option to use more than the allocated bandwidth (i.e. the browser won't return a bandwidth limit exceeded error if the usage is over 3000 GB) there is an extra cost per GB.

Within the Vultr dashboard, the usage graphs can be seen by selecting "Manage" next to the desired server and navigating to the Usage Graphs tab.

In this example, the Inbound traffic is 1.62 GB and the Outbound is 7.26 GB. In most cases the outbound traffic will result in a higher number than the inbound as this is measured by the amount of data that is sent from the web server to the client. Vultr determines the total monthly bandwidth usage by selecting the larger number from either inbound or outbound.

Another example on how to view bandwidth usage for cpanel users is shown below.

The monthly bandwidth transfer is shown on the left sidebar to help users keep track of how much bandwidth has been used during the month.

How to avoid bandwidth limit exceeded

For website owners who are using a host who limits bandwidth, and even for those who are not, the following is a list of ways to help minimize bandwidth usage and avoid a bandwidth limit exceed error.

  1. Implement a CDN: Content delivery networks can greatly help lighten the load on the origin server. With static assets accounting for around 80% of most websites, users are delivered cached content from the CDN instead of the origin server. This can help lower costs as CDN bandwidth is cheaper than web host bandwidth and will also help improve site speed.
  2. Compress images: Losslessly compressing images is a great way to help reduce the amount of bandwidth usage without sacrificing image quality. Using an image compression tool such as Optimus offers a great solution for WordPress users and as an API.
  3. Enable hotlink protection: Hotlinking is the act of a third party website embedding your website's assets on their own which in turn uses your web server's bandwidth. This can be controlled by enabling hotlink protection and defining which referrers are allowed to link to your assets. KeyCDN also allows for the creation of Zone Referrers (hotlink protection) to protect the assets delivered via the CDN.
  4. Use Gzip compression: Enabling Gzip compression will also help reduce the size of the files delivered to the user. This can be enabled directly from the origin server and is enabled by default within KeyCDN.
  5. Use a non-limiting bandwidth web host: Lastly, choosing a web host provider who does not hard-cap bandwidth usage will help users avoid seeing a bandwidth limit exceeded error. Although any bandwidth usage over an above what was specified in the plan will likely come at a cost, it further ensures that users will continuously be able to access the site.


Avoiding a bandwidth limit exceeded error is quite crucial since if the limit is reached, website visitors will no longer be able to access your website. Implementing steps to help reduce the chance of this occurring is an important to help ensure your website remains online.

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