I am planning on setting up a free file hosting site where users can host files up to 1GB. I was looking at some dedicated server hosts and found one in the Netherlands that offers 50TB bandwidth per month, 100mbps connection on start and upgrade to 1000mbps for a small additional monthly fee. I found another Luxembourg based provider which offers pretty much the same hardware, with unlimited bandwidth per month, but they only offer 100mbps - but they are almost half the price of the former host. Though I am always the pessimist and doubt it will be successful, I would like to be able to scale smoothly if the need arises, preferably without the need to switch hosts entirely/bring in more servers when I don't need to. I've been debating between the two for a couple of days, and for a site of this type the Luxembourg provider's unmetered monthly bandwidth is tempting, but as I said they are limited to 100mbps. I was planning on using a free CDN like Cloudtflare from the start just to speed up delivery of my static files, etc, but higher end CDNs that can accomodate large files are very expensive, and I would prefer to avoid these as long as I can, because as of now I am on an extremely restricted budget. My question is, for a site of this caliber, would having a 1000mbps connection be necessary for scaling smoothly to a large number of visitors, or is this just marketing hokum that I will never actually use to its full extent? I did some research, but most of what I could found pertained to people hosting websites like torrent trackers, forums, etc, not a site whose main function is serving files. I know most people's internet connection is nowhere close to 1000mbps or even 100mbps, but if I am serving files through a large number of connections currently I am afraid a 100mbps connection might get congested, though I know little about this so any advice on this topic would be appreciated. Thank you.
would having a 1000mbps connection be necessary for scaling smoothly to a large number of visitor
Yes, and more.
See, these days people may come with 30, 50, 100 mbit on their side, so you need a lot of bandwidth to accomodate a lot of parallel downloads.
Even if someone just comes with an 8mbit connection - 100mbit, ignoring overhead etcl - just covers 12 of those at the same time. And if your files are large, those downloads will take some time - which means that in the end you you ned WAY more than 1gibt to handle a large number of downloads.
You're going to be stuck with some decent running costs either way you go here so why not use a host with cheap file storage and a good international CDN? Amazon AWS would be one of these providers but there are heaps of 'cloud' providers like this. I think Rackspace also have a CDN offering. None the less - it sounds like you want a decent CDN to tie your application into.