Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Clamping Down on Website Traffic

Unless you work in information technology, you probably don't think about how much money a web site costs to operate, but it can be expensive. First, you have to hire developers to set up and design the site. Then you need a few servers to host your web pages and extra files (movie clips, pdf files, articles, etc). Finally, you will need to front some cash just to send the content out to your audience; this last item is called bandwidth, and that is what we are interested in today.

There are lots of ways to save on bandwidth. For starters, you can cut down on the number of images your site displays, and keep the text down to a minimum. Berkshire Hathaway, owned by the billionnaire Warren Buffet, is a great example of this minimalist concept in action. But the really big money can be saved by using a technique known as web compression.

Compression just means the the web host crunches the files down before they are sent, using an mathematical algorithm. Next, the web surfer receives the content; it gets re-inflated, then it pops up in your browser. It may sound complicated but in fact you are probably doing it right now; Treehugger crunches every page about 80 percent before sending it, and almost every browser these days supports compression.

You can save a bundle using this technique - up to 50 percent off your bandwidth bill, according to Serverwatch. And your pages will load faster to boot, which makes for happy viewers. Surprisingly, according to a recent study by Port80 Software, only about 17% of the Fortune 500 use web compression on their corporate sites. This wastes millions of dollars a year (good guys include eBay, Yahoo!, and Amazon, to name a few) Check your favorite sites here, and start firing off the emails. :: Serverwatch :: Port 80

No comments: