Monthly data transfer limit in hosting

Today I was looking at different hosting providers for a small app, and I was surprised how small a monthly transfer limit actually is which otherwise look huge when we look at the pricing comparison table.

For example Vultr provides 1TB data transfer per month with $10 package (DigitalOcean and Linode also provide something similar), which looks huge, but it’s actually 0.38 megabyte per second if we calculate it. I think 0.38 megabyte will roughly serve two requests per second if a single request is approximately 200 kb.


Have you ever crossed the monthly transfer limit?

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Digital Ocean offers 2TB for the $10 plan (or 1TB for the $5) plan. Overage is billed at $0.01/GB ($10/TB), but the crucial thing is the bandwidth allotment is pooled. If you have four $5 droplets and three of them use 100GB each and the fourth uses 3.5TB, then you do not get billed for overage since your total usage is 3.8TB out of your pooled allotment of 4TB.

In practice, almost any app that’s averaging more than a request per second (~2.5 million/month) will be worth far more than $5/month hosting. The only time I’ve ever found outgoing bandwidth costs to be a serious concern is when using a TURN server for video chat users that couldn’t make a direct connection (via WebRTC). In that scenario a relatively small number of users can eat up a lot of bandwidth.


Scaleway’s monthly data transfer limit is very handsome, if their monthly data transfer limit is equal to their per-second bandwidth multiplied by total seconds in a month.

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Thank you for this info! earlier I thought every instance’s data transfer limit is calculated isolated from other instances.

Of course their options are a good value for the buck, not only in the data transfer (if it is per second bandwidth X total seconds per month, as you mentioned), but also the RAM, processor and everything.

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For many years, Digital Ocean did not bother to charge for overages. This tells me that very few people go over such limits.

200kb per request is actually A LOT of data. Once you’ve loaded static assets, each request is more likely to be a few kb each.


I agree that if we minus the cached stuff and things served from some CDN, then each request (other than the firs one) sometimes become less than 20 or even less than 10 kb.

If we compare DigitalOcean, Vultur etc with Scaleway, then of course there is a huge difference. The smallest dedicated server at Scaleway is 2.99 euro or 3.39 USD, and it gives 200 Megabits per second which becomes 65.74 Terabytes per month, and that is huge.

Can someone confirm that Scaleway’s monthly data transfer limit is equal to bandwith/sec X second/month?

Bandwidth at those prices is likely to be oversubscribed.

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Looks like you are getting worried about the wrong thing, because you won’t transfer that much data very soon. Stackoverflow’s last month’s data transfer was 55 TB, and it’s one of the busiest websites out there.
And @jeremyjh is right, it does’t look possible that someone will provide you 65.74 terabytes per month for $3.4.

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You are correct, Scaleway offers a plan with an unmetered 200 Mbps connection in their starter plan, pro plan, and a couple in their ARM plans.

However, I have heard Scaleway has problems delivering these speeds. I have never used them, so perhaps they actually do. They may be worth checking out.

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If it’s unmetered, than it’s really huge, about which I’m not quite sure, but it looks like it is unmetered, otherwise they would have mentioned a limit.

Thank you @DevotionGeo for reminding me Scaleway. I knew about it but forgot that it was an option.

I also have a feeling that they won’t be meeting their promises, because their options are too good to be true.

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I wish there is someone from Scalway in the forum and comment on it.

They’re not necessarily too good to be true, but they’re certainly dependent on the vast majority of hosted servers coming nowhere near the limit.


Well, do not get too excited just yet :grimacing:. Although they are unmetered, I have heard their network is bottlenecked and they often cannot deliver near what they offer. The good news is that they are inexpensive enough to try them out for some testing though.

If you’re looking for true unmetered bandwidth you are probably going to have to host your own hardware at a datacenter (which is not as expensive as one thinks).

It’s pretty rare that they offer unmetered bandwidth. The limits may be higher, but you’ll still probably be metered.

Great point. It all depends on the contract. You just ask for unmetered bandwidth, agree on a price and that’s it. Always bring someone that is good at negotiating.

Now, the only downside is being responsible for the hardware. I’m running one project that has been running solid going past year 3 :+1: I haven’t had to touch a thing. A lot of work to get setup, but if you plan well you won’t have much to do but spot checks. Shoot, now that I think about it I need to move all the equipment to a new cabinet — thanks for sparking that memory before I forget! :laughing:

Actually it is quite possible to get a colo contract with a fixed rate and unmetered. It will cost many, many times what Scaleway promises though unless it is oversubscribed. I’ll be blunt, Scaleway cannot provide what it is selling. There is no where they could buy bandwidth at that rate, so they do indeed depend on the majority of their customers not using it.

@pillaiindu unless your business is fundamentally about data transfer (e.g. CDN, file sharing, porn), this is the wrong thing to be worried about at this stage. I’d focus on finding a provider that provides reliable service and a good platform for development, and once you have some live traffic start analyzing the actual bandwidth usage.

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I personally prefer how places like OVH do it, they guarantee a set amount of bandwidth (say 100mbps to 2gbps) and it is unmetered otherwise, you just are capped on the speed.