How to Reduce Your Site’s Bandwidth and Storage Usage
For many large sites that deal in large amounts of traffic, bandwidth and storage solutions can be a nightmare. While most websites never have to worry about an overload of their bandwidth or total allocated space, larger websites can run into this problem quite often and in order to accommodate a growing number of visitors, the site typically has to expand its bandwidth and storage each time the limit is reached. Finding permanent solutions to reduce or slow the growth of space and bandwidth needed is a feasible task and can be easily accomplished by following a few simple pieces of advice.
Be Aware of Your Site’s Footprint
One of the easiest ways to keep track of the average amount of bandwidth and space your website is directly using is to determine the number of visitors you have in any given time and the overall size of your website. One tool that is helpful in determine page sizes is Pingler’s Webpage Size Checker; simply input the pages you would like to check and the corresponding sizes will be displayed, giving you an overall idea of the total size of your site. Based on where your visitors are going to on the site, you can then take the two pieces of information to estimate daily, weekly or monthly bandwidth usage.
Minimise Images and Image Use
Many sites find their bandwidth being gulped down by heavily-trafficked areas of the site that feature large amounts of images (forums are a prime example, where avatars and locally-hosted photos make up a large percentage of bandwidth consumption). Examine your site for image use. In every instance, ask the following questions: Is this image necessary? If so, can this image be scaled down? Larger websites have reported an instant 2-4% reduction in bandwidth usage by simply scaling down all images by 10%. Since images use far more data per pixel than text, making a small change in the size of the image and not using them when it is unnecessary will permanently reduce bandwidth and storage usage.
Disable Local User Hosting
As briefly mentioned before, forums and other interactive areas on sites can be a huge drain on bandwidth and storage when allowing users to upload and share images with other users. Some websites approach this problem by strictly limiting the file size or dimensions of images that can be uploaded and shared. Other sites address the problem by eliminating the ability to locally host images at all. Whatever your decision, make sure it will work with your existing community; saving on usage isn’t worth it if your established community flees as a result.
If you have decided to keep local hosting as a part of your community, you can still further reduce the bandwidth and storage used by allowing hosted images to remain on your server for only a certain period of time. There are many sites that have years and years of locally-hosted images still on their servers. By setting an arbitrary time period (for example, one year) and purging all files older than that, you can accommodate in the present without paying for it in the future.