Bandwidth can be pretty confusing. What is it? Where does it go? And how did I use it all? Fear not! We're here to help. Let's walk through how Wistia does bandwidth, how to see your bandwidth, and some tips to save you from using more than you bargained for!
Bandwidth is the data that gets passed to a viewer when they watch a video. So, every time someone presses play on your videos, data gets passed from our servers to their browsers, which is counted as bandwidth.
But just pressing play isn't the only way to use bandwidth. Other things count toward your monthly bandwidth usage too—like the player and thumbnail image loading, the video being loaded and played as your own internal views, and the video being downloaded.
How It All Works
When you upload a video to Wistia we create multiple derivatives to ensure the smoothest playback. We want your video to play in as many environments as possible—which is why we create not only HD files, but SD and Flash derivatives too.
When your excited viewer presses play on your video inline (usually 640px - 960px wide), it is a waste of bandwidth to show them the HD file. At that size, the difference in picture is nearly imperceptible. HD files are also much much larger, which means the viewer can also have that stuttering playback experience. Major bummer!
Instead, we have chosen smart standard definition defaults (what we call Smart Encoding) based on your video type (i.e. screencast, action, interview) and that is the version that is shown.
Still confused? Have no fear, we made you a helpful video too.
Check Your Bandwidth
All right, so you understand what bandwidth is, now it's time to dive into how it works in Wistia.
We'll send you a heads up email if you're on track to go over your bandwidth for the month, but you can always check on your usage inside of your account. Just make sure you're logged in as the Account Owner.
Head into Account Settings, and select Usage from the sidebar (or click this handy link). There you'll see your bandwidth usage over the course of the month. You'll also see when it's slated to reset, and if you're likely to go over.
Here you can check out the last three months of bandwidth--and decide if moving up a tier is the right choice. Check out our conversion chart to see the hard numbers.
Not sure? Give us a shout! We'll be happy to walk you through our plans.
Want help gauging how much bandwidth your videos will use? Check out our Bandwidth Predictor Tool.
Keep in mind, while this thing is pretty sweet (if I do say so myself), it is just a predictor tool. The bandwidth you end up using could be different.
Extra Bandwidth Pricing
Let's walk through a fairly standard bill.
If you're on the $100/mo 500 Video Plan with the default 200 GB bandwidth option, and you end up using 350 GB of bandwidth for the month, here's what your bill would look like:
- $100 for the 500 Video Plan
- 150 GB of additional bandwidth at $0.33/GB = $49.50
- This month's bill: $149.50
If you're on an annual plan you'll be billed monthly for any extra bandwidth costs you incur. You can always see your receipts in Account Settings.
Still not sure if you're in the right spot? Talk to us. We're happy to chat math.
How to Cut Down Bandwidth
Constantly hitting or exceeding your bandwidth limits? That's the pits! Here's some tips for avoiding big bandwidth bills.
One of the easiest ways to help conserve bandwidth is to change the Video Quality in Account Settings. This is a universal change for all of your videos, everywhere they live on the internet—in your account, on Twitter, embedded online—everywhere.
To conserve bandwidth you'll want to lower the Video Quality. You can change this setting in Account Settings when you're logged in as the Account Owner.
Choose "Account" from the sidebar and scroll to the bottom of the page. The default option for Video Quality is set to Auto, but knocking it down to 360p will help to conserve bandwidth. This change will take effect immediately, and can always be undone at any time.
Just remember to Save Settings, and you're good to go!
What about Long Videos?
When someone starts watching your video, we'll begin loading the entire video asset to ensure smooth playback. Let's say the viewer, under a sufficiently fast internet connection, were to press pause or stop watching after only a few minutes of an hour long video. It's possible that the entire derivative would have been loaded within those first couple of minutes—using up your bandwidth.
If you've got a lot of long videos, but some low engagement, it'll help to alleviate your bandwidth usage by breaking them up into smaller videos.
From there you can use our Embed Links to make an easy playlist of the videos in your series.
Here are some easy things you can do to cut down on bandwidth:
Minimize your own views—your views count toward bandwidth, so try to cut down on your own views while customizing or testing.
Avoid having videos set on autoplay. Once a video starts autoplaying, it will automatically start using bandwidth. To turn this off head into Controls in the Customize panel.
In the same vein, avoid having your videos set to loop upon finish. Looping autoplay is a major bandwidth suck.
If you're not a fan of the universal Video Quality option, you can change a single embed code to always use a lower-resolution derivative (such as the SD derivative) to use less bandwidth. This can be done by using the "videoQuality" embed option.
Giving viewers the option to Download your video via the Share buttons also uses bandwidth. You can cut down on bandwidth by removing the download button entirely, or by changing the configuration. In the Customize panel select the Share tab. Next to the Download option you'll see Configure. Choose the SD MP4 asset as the Download Type.
Where Is Bandwidth Usage Coming From?
At this point, it isn't possible to gauge which video is causing a hike in bandwidth usage if you're seeing one. But if you have a video that's getting a lot of traffic (you can check that quickly in the View Stream), that's probably your culprit.
You can always see the sizes of the files we're delivering from your account. Head to any video in your account and choose Download from the Video Actions menu. There you'll see the size of the original file, and the size of the files Wistia has created for streaming.
Are you exceeding your bandwidth limit on the regular? Here's a nifty chart we put together to show you the breaking point when you should jump up to a different bandwidth option.
|Bandwidth option||Monthly cost||Extra bandwidth pricing||When to upgrade|
|200 GB||Free||$0.33/GB||807 GB in total bandwidth ($200.31)|
|1 TB||$200||$0.18/GB||4,080 GB in total bandwidth ($750.08)|
|5 TB||$750||$0.15/GB||10,120 GB in total bandwidth ($1,500)|
|15 TB||$1500||$0.10/GB||30,360 GB in total bandwidth ($3,000)|
|50 TB||$3000||$0.06/GB||Contact us|
Still not sure? Talk to us. We weren't all Calculus majors, but we can figure our way around a calculator. We'd love to chat.