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Live chat a bandwidth hog

Be warned, if you have live chat software on your website it may be using up a lot ( if not all ) of your allocated bandwidth.

How is this possible you say? Well, in order for the live chat program to display new messages/conversations to you as an admin, it will need to poll the server at a rate defined in the software.

With the way the web works, you have to call the server to get new information. The server can't simply send you information without you asking for it.

The only way for your internet browser to find out if there are new chat messages waiting for you is for it to ask the server. For the sake of our example, lets say the chat application polls the server every 3 seconds.

If you worked 8-5pm mon-fri and left the chat open to see if anyone wants to ask a question from your website. The chat would be running a call every 3 seconds for 45 hours out of the week. That is a total of 486,000 calls to the server in the week.

Lets say on average, each call takes 2KB of data ( some chat activity but mostly just empty calls to see if there are new messages ). If you times 486,000 by 2 you have 972,000KB or roughly 950MB a week. 4 weeks a month and you are at roughly 3.8GB.

That has a huge effect on your bandwidth usage for the month. It could be the difference in staying within your bandwidth limit, or causing a bandwidth overage.


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