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Avoiding High Bandwidth

by Brian Stolz

Summary : Bandwidth can get quite costly and a lot of us are restricted in regards to how much bandwidth we are allowed to use per month. This article will step us through some easy steps to take in order to avoid using large amounts of bandwidth.

Images, movies, music, and software files are the largest contributors to your bandwidth usage on a website. The largest cause of this is using very large or uncompressed files. You should always ensure that your files are compressed, and optimized for use on a website.

One very common mistake is to put all of your images on one page. This will cause a very large amount of bandwidth to be use for every page view, regardless of whether or not the visitor looks at all of the images or not. The best practice is to use a thumbnail gallery where a very small version of the image is displayed. When the visitor clicks on that small image, they are then able to view the larger, more detailed image. This ensures that the user is interested in the picture before they view the larger version.

Put your content on multiple pages. Using a single page not only uses up more bandwidth on a single view, but will also lose your readers attention. Hyperlinks are your friend and should be used often to link between pages. This allows you to ensure your readers are still interested before using up more bandwidth.

Another mistake is to use BMP files on your website. BMP files are an old image format which is very large, and uncompressed. You should always use JPG, GIF, or PNG files, which are compressed formats, whenever possible.

Background sounds are also can create high bandwidth usage. If you use a MP3 file as a background sound that is 1 or 2 megabytes in size, every visitor will be downloading that file. This is an extremely quick way to receive a very large bandwidth overage bill.

PDF files are becoming very popular on the internet, but there is one downside, they are very large. Many times PDFs are used when another format could be used instead, such as a spreadsheet of your pricing. The same display could be created using tables in HTML. The file size would then be a fraction of what a PDF is and wouldn't require third party software. On the other hand, PDFs are great when used to display brochuers, or very image-heavy documents that you cannot represent in the form of a website.

Remember, always think about bandwidth when designing your site. Avoid large file types and require user action to view large images and to download large files.

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