I'm setting up HTTP load balancers for Tomcat servers. I'm looking at a few different VPS plans that the load balancer will run on. I assume the load balancer would use very small amounts of traffic? If a website gets about 4 Million visits a month, how much bandwidth can I expect the load balancer to use?


3 Answers 3


Depends on the size of the request, whether direct server return is in use, and a dozen other variables.

Do capacity planning yourself. Observe your real traffic to get an idea of request size, and multiply it by your number of requests estimate. Have a procedure to upgrade capacity or switch providers, if you exceed your provider's limits or your budget.


Actually load balancer will probably consume most of your traffic in the system.


Like others have mentioned. It depends. Since you specifically mention HTTP load balancing then the load balancer will serve 100% of those 4 million visits.

How much bandwith is 4 million visits? You need to measure yourself from your own code. But let's try to do some back-of-the-envelope calculations:

What is a visit? Is it a "hit" or a "unique visit"?

  • If it's a hit then it's simple. We just use the 4 million number as the number of requests.

  • If it's a unique visit then how I do it is take an average experience to do the main task of the website (for example to book a place for Airbnb, to book a ride for Uber etc.). Let's say user go to landing page -> search result -> browse a couple of pages -> select item -> book item -- that's 5 pages. So the number of requests is 4 million * 5 = 20 million requests.

Now you need to guesstimate how big each page is. Most of the projects I work with average around 1MB per page so let's go with that. Assuming an average page size of 1MB (including all ajax requests, images etc) the estimated outgoing bandwidth is:

1MB * 20 million = 20 Terabytes per month

Which is a very, very busy site. That's almost Google's search bandwidth usage per year as estimated at around 2009 (around 24TB / year).

OK. Let's say the 4 million is "hits":

1MB * 4 million = 4 Terabytes per month

Still a very respectable web service. I don't know.. probably on the scale of Twitter?

Let's say your service is more like Twitter where you send mostly small packets. Let's assume around 4k per request on average:

4kB * 4 million = 16 Gigabytes per month

Now it's starting to look reasonable.

I hope you get the general idea of how to guesstimate these things but you only really know the answer once you get your service up and running.

  • Note: I've worked for very successful and profitable web services that can only manage around 10 requests / second max. So you don't really need a lot of bandwidth to run a typical web service like JIRA or Github
    – slebetman
    May 15, 2019 at 3:46

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