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Bandwidth Reduction Strategies

Posted on 6.01.2014

It’s simple, the more bandwidth a website uses the more expensive it is to run.

Developers are always looking for different ways to optimize their websites and cut down on bandwidth. While there are many different techniques that can be used to save bandwidth it is important to remember not every technique is right for every website. This article will discuss four different ways that Web workers and developers can save bandwidth.

COMPRESS IMAGES

Image compression is one of the easiest ways that Internet professionals can use to save on bandwidth. There are three main formats for image compression: jpg (or jpeg), png and gif. Each format has unique advantages and disadvantages so knowing which one to use is crucial.

DISABLE HOTLINKS

A hotlink, for those who don’t know, is a direct link to a file (image, video, etc.) that is located on another website. The problem that this creates is that every time a website that is using a hotlink from your site is downloaded, that file needs to download too. Every time that file downloads it does so from your server using your bandwidth not the theirs (this is known as “bandwidth theft”). By disabling hotlinks this process is stopped which effectively saves the site owner money.

EXTERNAL IMAGE HOSTING

While hosting images on a personal server gives Web workers complete control over them, there is a downside. Image files eat up bandwidth which is what makes compressing images necessary in the first place. However, if a site is still not seeing enough of a decline in its bandwidth usage, then turning to an external image hosting site (Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, etc.) might be a good idea. It is important to note that by using this site users give up complete control over their images.

CLEAN UP THE CODE

While image compression gets the most coverage, compressing the actual code is just as important. Three of the top ways to compress the code are to clear the whitespace as well as enable HTTP compression and refactor the code.

Clearing the whitespace in code can be a pain because it is such meticulous work, but then again so is writing quality code. HTTP compression is supported by almost all modern browsers, but can be tricky to set up properly so developers should take their time when doing so. Refactoring is just a fancy term that means reworking old code to modify how it’s written but not what it produces. This helps to keep code up to date making it easier for developers to edit the content in the future.

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