10Mbps or 100Mbps up link port for a dedicated server

There are hundreds of quality dedicated server providers around the world. Some dedicated server offers come with 10Mbps and some with 100Mbps up link port speed – what should I chose when ordering a dedicated server?

In order to understand network speed, let’s look at the following transfer speeds and calculations:
1024Kbps = 1Mbps (316GB per month if used 24/7).
10Mbps used 24/7 can transfer 3164GB per month or 105.4GB per day.
100Mbps can transfer 31640GB per month or that is roughly around 1054GB per day.

And that is just in one direction – the server has incoming and outgoing bandwidth. Before you sign-up with a new dedicated server company, ask their sales how they calculate the bandwidth. Is it the highest from incoming or outgoing bandwidth or it’s incoming plus outgoing (in+out).

For the web server or ftp hosting, the highest will be the outgoing bandwidth, unless your clients are uploading ftp files to your server all around the clock, or your server is getting a flood (incoming bandwidth).

Of course the network latency will be much less and files served much faster with 100Mbps up link, comparing to overloaded 10Mbps up link connectivity in peak times. For example 9 users downloading at around 1024Kbps (1Mbps) files from your server will use the 10Mbps up link around 90% of the total capacity or only 9-10% of 100Mbps uplink capacity. This clearly shows that some of the users (or users who will connect to the server) will get some packet loss and transfer speed will decrease on the 10Mbps port, but not on the 100Mbps up link. We believe in our example that there is no packet loss in the upstream providers.

However, if your dedicated server comes with 1000GB of monthly traffic you can easily burn it if you have 100Mbps up link in around 23 hours, or in 12 hours if there is a lot of incoming traffic activity. With 10Mbps up link port you can use your 1000GB allocated monthly traffic only in around 9 days, or 4.5 days if you have 10Mbps of constant incoming and outgoing activity. Real life tests show that your server physically can use around 90Mbps on a 100Mbps up link and 95-100% on 10Mbps up link, however, this really depends on the hardware, including your server and switching/routing fabrics that your upstream is using. We also assume that upstream connectivity is no problem and not oversold.

My suggestion is to use 10Mbps at the start, unless the server comes with 100Mbps up link at the beginning and review your MRTG or RRDTOOL graphs. If you are never reaching 10Mbps or using it very shortly, why do you need to pay $10-$20 for upgrading your port to 100Mbps. If your web site is getting flooded a lot, I would suggest not upgrading to 100Mbps unless you really want it to keep it online, but prepare to pay extra dollars for used bandwidth fees (if incoming bandwidth is not counted towards your dedicated server bandwidth usage, it’s better for you!).


The blue bar above shows average usage of 9.47Mbps incoming bandwidth. That is very close to 10Mbps usage and depending on the traffic patterns I suggest 100Mbps port unless it’s a flood attack (incoming bandwidth!). The outgoing traffic maximum was only 930Kbps, that is below 1Mbps. So I guess no need to upgrade, unless you offer FTP upload service that requires low-latency and speedy incoming bandwidth to the server.
Above graph clearly shows that outgoing bandwidth (the green color bar) went over 20Mbps, actually 21.23Mbps (see the Maximum Inbound value). This will require 100Mbps up link port to serve files without packet loss.


Incoming bandwidth in the above graph shows a bit over of 5Mbps usage. You will be fine with a 10Mbps up link port speed in this case.

Please note: the 95% bandwidth counting method still shows very low usage on the traffic images above. We generated bandwidth bursts to show the traffic patterns and how to read bandwidth usage and examples from RRDTOOL generated logs. Remember, to use 1000GB of monthly bandwidth your outgoing bandwidth should be around 3Mbps on 95% bandwidth billing method.

We used 1024Mb=1GB for bandwidth calculation tables. Some providers use 1000Mb=1GB.


  1. John Vivex says:

    Thanks for the explanation.
    You are absolutely correct about when to chose 100Mbps uplink port speed. Many folks just pay $10 to $30 monthly extra to get it but they do not actually need it due to low bandwidth burst requirements.

  2. Newbie says:

    Hi thanks for this post well i’m confused about choosing a web server if anyone can help me ,

    I need a web server to host video files 100mb files
    uploading 100mb x 30 files a day , so there are 100-130 simultaneous users watch that videos,

    so what kind of a server do i need to buy ?
    thanks and appreciate any help…

  3. Nam says:

    Thanks for the information. From the way that you say, even if you don’t need 100mbps, it’s still worth upgrade just in case of peaked traffic? How about 1000mbps? It is overkill or it’s worth paying? My host ask for only $10 more from 100mbps to 1000mbps.

  4. http guy says:

    Newbuy: You will definitely need a server with 100Mbps uplink port. What bitrate you will use for streaming? It makes a difference to have have 256Kbps or 512Kbps stream.
    What video format you are planning to use?

  5. http guy says:

    Nam: The best way is to check your current MRTG usage and see if your bandwidth peak is near maximum current bandwidth, e.g. 9+Mbps on a 10Mbps port and 70-80Mbps on 100Mbps port. Remember that with 1000Mbps port you can easily burn your all monthly traffic quota (1000-1500GB) in a matter of a few hours. In most cases 1000Mbps is probably an overkill, unless you distribute a lot of file downloads or have very, very popular web site or blog.

  6. Dominic Bobie Adade says:

    Very good for that, it has really helped me understand some things. Thank you very much

  7. Guru says:

    Very informative!
    I was planning to buy a dedicated server and was wondering what to chose from. With a very little traffic site, 10MB would be more then enough for me.

  8. benn says:

    Hello and thank you for this article .
    I am still debating and are bit confused.
    Just purchased dedicated server with 10mbps and 2000GB monthly bandwidth limit.

    My website is pretty popular and we get steady 100GB – 150GB MBT per month , what would you suggest ?

  9. http guy says:

    Benn – thanks for asking. What are your peak time burst usage? Does it go over 10Mbps? If not, definitely go with 10Mbps – it will save you some dollars.

  10. Keith Emery says:

    Would I need 100mbps to run several gaming servers of a dedicated box? The servers each hold 24 players and people come and go a lot, but they’re full most of the time. There is not a lot of actual up loading or downloading of files, they just connect and play a game. Thanks.

  11. ripperbolt says:

    Thanks!! Very convincing explanation.

  12. BLACKY says:

    Hey buddy,
    Im providing videos for mobile users thru my site! Site opens very slow indeed! I think host has provided just 3mbps port! Is 10mbps perfect or 100mbps is required? Morever monthly bandwidth of the server is 1000gb!

  13. sonia says:

    nice article,it is very informative thanks.

  14. Green Web Hosting says:

    Great post! Maybe you could do a follow up on this topic?

  15. steven says:

    nice article

  16. imranbzu says:

    very nice article,thanks for sharing

  17. Thanks for the detailed info.
    I am developing a interactive portal related to stock market.
    Expecting 30 concurrent users of each request around 100KB.
    i.e per second I expect around 30 requests.
    The peak period will be around 9:00AM to 18:00PM.
    What would you suggest?

  18. rials says:

    I’m in the process of looking for a dedicated server that will allow streaming media. The bitrate will be between 512 – 1024 kbps per concurrent user.

    How many users could access the server comfortably with a 100mbps vs a 1gbps port?

    The server specifics:

    Xeon E3-1270
    4 cores
    chipset Intel D5000
    DDR3 16 Gb
    2 x 1TB HD
    RAID 1

    Thanks for your replies…..

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