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Internet Bandwidth: How much do you need?

If you have two 8k images on one Web page and a 2k HTML file, you would then have 18k of data on that particular page.

If you are shopping for a web hosting company, the exact amount of bandwidth you decide to buy can actually determine the success or failure of your web site. As a rule of thumb, the greater amount of bandwidth you have, the more traffic your site will be able to support at any one time.

So the question is, just how much bandwidth do you really need in the first place? In order to have a reasonably accurate figure of the Internet bandwidth you will use, you must simply estimate how large the pages on your site are and approximately how many surfers are going to view them as a whole.

For a start, calculate the size of every image on your site and the sizes of the page's HTML files, and multiply that by the amount of views for those pages you expect, on a monthly basis. As an example, if you have two 8k images on one Web page and a 2k HTML file, you would then have exactly 18k of data on that particular page.

Now multiply that number by your expected page views (let's assume in that case it would be 100,000 per month), and you get 1.8 Gig's of data to be transferred that month for that particular page. Now calculate this for each page of your web site and it will give you a fair estimate of approximately how much Internet bandwidth your entire site will require on a monthly basis.

How can one save on Internet bandwidth?
Today, there are different ways that exist to help you optimize your bandwidth usage, effectively saving some of it. The first rule Sun Hosting recommends is to try to keep your pages as small as possible. This means using HTML programming techniques that will, ideally, reduce most file sizes. Additionally, all pictures, drawings, pictorials and graphics should be compressed as much as possible in order to reduce image size. Use GIF format for photos and graphics, as it's compression features are really good.

An additional technique to save Internet bandwidth is to use images and photos on your site that are actually stored elsewhere on an another web site. You can do this by replacing the file name in your IMG SRC tag with a URL. However, before you contemplate doing this, make sure you have a written authorization from the site you wish to link to. Failing to do so could be viewed as "stealing bandwidth", which could be considered pirating and is therefore illegal.

Additionally, Cascading Style Sheets or CSS can also yield an effective way to save Internet bandwidth. CSS are designed to decrease HTML file sizes by attributing values for any HTML element and/or command at the start of that HTML document. The same is true of SSI (server side includes).

Preventing Internet bandwidth theft
In one of the examples above, using another web site's photographs or images by linking to them in your IMG SRC tag without proper authorization, means it is a form of double piracy- i.e. you are pirating both the site's images and Internet bandwidth. As unethical as it looks like and it certainly is, it's a fact of life many webmasters have to deal with on a daily basis.

One of the most basic techniques of reducing Internet bandwidth theft is policing. This means analyzing search engines, logs and other sites to find out who is using your pictures and images, and thus your bandwidth, without proper permission. Once you have identified and located the offending party (or parties), you can simply contact them and order them to stop linking to your site. Now if the offending party tries to tell you a story that everything on the Web is in the public domain, don't believe them. The sad news is, policing web sites yourself is a very time-consuming task at best.

A more expensive but time-efficient method to protect your Internet bandwidth and content is through some commercial software. There are companies and vendors that offer a number of utilities and software that could protect your images through encryption technology. Do a search on the Web with the keywords "saving on Internet bandwidth" and hopefully you will come across some helpful information.

Disponible en français: Hébergement Web Canada    

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