Let's walk through how Wistia does bandwidth, how to see your bandwidth, and some tips to save you from overages!

Caroline F avatar
Written by Caroline F
Updated over a week ago

Understanding Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the data that gets passed to a viewer when they play a media. So, every time someone presses play on your medias, 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, video thumbnails, the media being loaded and played by your own internal views, and the media 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.

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 or a Manager.

Head into Account Settings, and select “Account Usage” from the sidebar (or click this handy link).

Bandwidth Usage

Here, 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, in addition to a lot of other data.

You can see:

  • The Total Media in your account (in comparison to the media included in your plan)

  • Your Monthly Bandwidth used so far (in comparison to how much bandwidth is included in your account)

  • Your upcoming account bill, including bandwidth usage

  • Your Bandwidth Usage Trends over the last 6 months

Extra Bandwidth Pricing

On July 12, 2022, we rolled out new plans with a simpler approach to bandwidth. Customers who purchased a Wistia Plus, Pro, or Advanced Plan on or after July 12, 2022 have a bandwidth limit of 1TB per month. You can upgrade to a Premium Plan to get access to additional bandwidth.

For customers on a legacy plan (aka you purchased prior to July 12, 2022 and haven’t migrated to a new plan yet), you will be charged for bandwidth overages. Let’s walk through a fairly standard bill:

If your base plan has a default of 200 GB bandwidth, and you end up using 350 GB of bandwidth for the month, here’s what your bill would look like:

  • $X for the plan

  • 150 GB of additional bandwidth at $0.33/GB = $49.50

  • This month’s bill: $X + $49.50

If you’re on an annual plan you’ll still be billed monthly for any extra bandwidth costs you incur, since your plan’s bandwidth allotment is a monthly amount. 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.

Quick Tips

Here are some easy things you can do to cut down on bandwidth:

  1. Minimize your own plays — your plays count toward bandwidth, so try to cut down on your own plays while customizing or testing.

  2. 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.

  3. Be mindful of the length and use of video thumbnails. A video thumbnail essentially is an autoplaying video, so the same rules apply.

  4. In the same vein, avoid having your videos set to loop upon finish. Looping autoplay is a major bandwidth suck.

  5. 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 media is causing a hike in bandwidth usage if you’re seeing one. But if you have a media 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 select Download. There you’ll see the size of the original file, and the size of the files Wistia has created for streaming.

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