If you have ever run a website, you may have run into the issue in which you have run out of bandwidth and either you get overcharged like hell or you get cut off. Well, lucky enough there are quite a few ways that you can save bandwidth and you can see quite a lot of these being applied on Tweaked for your Pleasure. So here are Snat’s tips for being a cheap arse and saving bandwidth.
This goes without saying. Use compression. If you are using a major CMS or forum script, chances are you can just set up compression within the control panel. All you have to do is set up compression (such as gzip) and it will help you save bandwidth quite a lot. There is a trade-off in that this will use more CPU usage which may piss your web host off but in most cases, it won’t.
This one goes without saying. Cache everything you can such as all the images on your website. Most images on your website such as banners, logos and so fore will rarely change so get your user’s browsers to cache them. There is little point in keeping sending this to the same person over and over again as it is just a waste of bandwidth.
Load things externally
On Tweaked for your Pleasure, all images are loaded from images.snat.co.uk which is hosted on four different web hosting accounts and uses a round-robin A record to randomly load it off one of them. You won’t believe how much bandwidth this saves and you can still save more bandwidth.
The good thing about off-loading these is that you can keep adding new and new locations so as you grow you can still serve images and other objects without having to use your website bandwidth.
I am sure this goes without saying. The fewer images you have, the less bandwidth you use. Now quite a lot of designers will use a small image as a background that even at times they will use an image for a plain colour background. In this case, you can simply just replace that image with CSS and this will save bandwidth.
Also, do you need those thousands of images to create your design?
Content delivery network
CDN is another way to help save bandwidth. Now you may be wondering that CDN only helps you serve content much more quickly but by using a free CDN known as The Coral Content Distribution Network you can save yet more bandwidth. Coral CDN works very simply by adding .nyud.net to the end of any domain and instead of loading it directly from your server, it goes use any local copy it has instead.
You may think this is bad as content would be the same and wouldn’t expire as quickly as you may want but if you use these for images and stuff that rarely changes like CSS that you will notice a massive change in your bandwidth usage. This is what I do on Tweaked for your Pleasure.
All images on this website are loaded via Coral CDN and you may think for a second that this will cause an issue with your users then look below for an example. On Tweaked for your Pleasure, I uploaded a picture of Terra from Final Fantasy VI for the article Thank G-d for custom firmware; for some reason, this image is the most viewed on the website. The image URL is: http://images.snat.co.uk/articles/ThankyouGdforcustomfirmware_EAE4/Terra.jpg
Now, when I do it via Coral CDN the image URL becomes http://images.snat.co.uk.nyud.net/article/ThankyouGdforcustomfirmware_EAE4/Terra.jpg. Below I have the same image loading normally on the left and then I have the same image loaded via Coral CDN on the right. You will see there is no difference in loading them.
I hope this article was of help to some people in the quest to save bandwidth. Sadly, there are times when you will need to buy more but by using these tips, hopefully, you may not have to for some time.
Until next time.
Need to reference?
Ellis, M. (2010). Saving bandwidth. [online] Snat's Narratives & Tales. Available at: https://snat.co.uk/rants/saving-bandwidth.html [Accessed 07 Dec 2023].
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