Coping with web success (part 2)
Mike Slocombe for Internet Magazine, May 2004
Ten tips for creating a lean, mean bandwidth-light website.
(See: bandwidth explained for info on calculating bandwidth usage)
Less is more: Make your homepage as light as possible - that way people arriving at your site by mistake won't waste precious bandwidth.
Recycle: Where possible, reuse buttons and images throughout your site. This will allow them to be cached, reducing the number of times each image is downloaded.
Use yer thumbs:
If you're hosting a photo album, create a thumbnail gallery to let viewers choose which pictures they want to see first.
Download free gallery software: webattack.com
Squeeze your images: Photos and graphics burn up way more bandwidth than HTML text, so make sure you optimise (compress) images down to the smallest possible file size.
Save images no higher than 72 dpi and choose the right format for the image. See More info here.
Make your photos as physically small as they need to be to convey the intended message.
Image optimisation tutorials:
Slim it down: If your website receives a high number of hits, even the smallest reduction in your HTML document's size will mean a substantial reduction in bandwidth usage.
Getting rid of excessive blank spaces and redundant tags in your HTML may seem like a spoddy thing to do, but it will shave precious bytes off each download!
Get stylish: Using externally linked Cascading Style Sheets will also substantially reduce HTML file sizes and make your site easier to manage.
Check out www.w3schools.com/css/ for a simple tutorial and download the excellentTopStyle style sheet editor (illustrated).
Static: Use static HTML instead of dynamic pages where possible - HTML pages can be cached, thus saving you bandwidth. http://searchfit.us/. If you're running a busy bulletin board, considering installing the Gzip compression utility.
Spread the load: One way to keep the bandwidth down is to spread the load onto several servers, with pages being made up from components scattered over a selection of free and commercial servers.
Although this can make editing the HTML a little tricky, it may help you keep your site within the bandwidth limits of your host.
A robot is a program that automatically shuffles along the web, following links and scooping up and indexing any content it finds.
Usually they're good news as they'll help you get a higher search engine ranking, but you can save precious bandwidth by blocking spiders from specific areas of your site by using a robots.txt file.
Bandwidth theft: It's tough enough trying to keep your bandwidth down without having to fight off low-down bums who embed your image/game on their site by directly referencing the file on your server - so, like a schmuck, you end up paying for their bandwidth!
Rummage through your server log files to unearth bandwidth bandits, and politely ask them to 'cease and desist'. Immediately.
If they ignore you, contact their ISP, or if you're feeling playful, replace the image with one displaying a 'colourful' message.
Protecting digital content: Macromedia
Protecting images and bandwidth: WDVL
Free web server log file analysis tool: www.mrunix.net/webalizer/
Using .htaccess to prevent image theft: sitewizard.com
Protect Your Images with PHP: sitewizard.com
Part one: Coping with success
« Back to tech homepage