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Articles & Tutorials

Restricting Bandwidth

by Brian Stolz

Summary : There are several ways to restrict the amount of bandwidth that your website uses. One of the most common ways is to limit access to large files through a password protected area of your website. You can require users to signup for a free download account before they are allowed to download the material.

This stops a common problem that causes high bandwidth costs, remote file linking. This will stop other sites from being able to link directly to your files, where you would get no benefit from the actual visitor, through ad-views or other offers your site has. It will also allow you to collect extra information about the visitor.

Another common way to restrict bandwidth is to change the names of your images/files often. This will stop users from being able to link to your images or files. The webmaster will eventually become tired of updating his images, and eventually stop using them linked from your site.

Always be aware of the files that exist on your website. Leaving large files on your site that are not serving a specific purpose is asking for trouble. For example, leaving a large music file stored on your site opens you up to someone finding it interesting, and linking to it from a high traffic site. The best practice is always keep a clean web directory, free of unused files.

The simpliest way to restrict bandwidth usage is by optimizing your website layout. You should always require a user action before downloading or viewing a large file. This can be accomplished by using thumbnails, require a clickthrough, and never use automatic downloads.

Remember, be aware that bandwidth costs money. If you are providing a download, ensure the user is viewing ads, or paying for the download in some fashion. If you always keep this in mind, you can not only optimize your bandwidth usage, but also ensure your website/company is profitable.

A great way to create a layout that is bandwidth-friendly is with CSS. Introduce yourself to CSS!