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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A tangled web we weave... » » Bandwidth--how much is enough? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Rimbaud
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Saint Louis
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In the next few months I'm going to finally put up a web site. I'm starting to examine my hosting choices and I have a question I just can't answer.

How much bandwidth do I really need each month?

The site will be a fairly basic place for potential customers to get more info about what I do. (The usual--close up in restaurants and bars. Strolling for corporate and cocktail gigs. Strictly grown up gigs, no kids parties.)

It should act as an online brochure for people I've already had contact with, as well as a sales point for anyone looking for variety entertainment in my market. (Saint Louis area) In other words, it's like every other web page we use. Smile

Since I have no products to sell (Other than myself) I don't need a shopping cart or a lot of other bells and whistles. The only thing downloadable will be a couple of pdfs of my brochures and one-sheets. The only thing bandwidth intensive I'll use is a small number of short video clips of me in action.

One of the hosting sites I looked at offers a nice package, but with only 1 gb a month in bandwidth.

Frankly, I've got no idea how much a site like this would use. How many hits/views would eat up that gig? I suspect one gig would be more than enough, but I don't want to fall short. It isn't like I expect to get thousands of hits each month, but if 25 people go the site and check out the videos and download my brochure, I don't the 26th to get an error message (or me get a bill for going over my limit.)

So, for those of you with web sites, would you mind sharing your average monthly bandwidth usage? How much do you regularly need? What's the most you've ever needed?

Does a gig sound right, or should I cough up a couple of bucks and get a bigger package?

Thanks!
http://www.DanLaddthehypnotist.com
"Saying 'Everyone is special' is just another way of saying 'No one is.'" --Dash from The Incredibles
Matthew W
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If it is a basic html site with graphics, I would say, about 5-10 gigs of transfer. For promo videos, I would tack on another 5 gigabytes. You can host them off of youtube and embed the code into one of the pages. For a flash website, no less than 25 gigabytes.

I would avoid going to any company that offers free hosting as well as paid. Try 1&1.com Their plans are very affordable and the give more than enough space and bandwidth.


One of the biggest bandwidth guzzlers is resizing large jpeg images. Avoid that at all costs. A .5 megabyte jpeg at 800x600 pixels shrunk to a 100x80 thumbnail will eat up bandwidth and take forever to load, even if the visiter doesn't want to see it. Times that by 20 pictures on a page, and that's 10 megabytes of transfer used. You will only have 100 people that can visit your website and view that page. Resize your pictures for thumbnails in photoshop.
-Matt
Rimbaud
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Saint Louis
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Thanks Matt!

I've looked at a few more hosts and will now probably go with one that offers more than I really need, instead of the bargain priced one I had been looking at (101sitehosting). I'm starting to lean to BlueHost, but I'll take a look at 1&1. I've also heard LunarHost has gotten good reviews as well.

I'd like to avoid hosting the videos on YouTube if possible, and am hoping to just post a couple of mpgs or avi's right on the site--I figure that's where the biggest bandwidth hit will be.

I'll probably avoid having a lot of Flash graphics as well--for some reason, I always find them a little annoying when I go to a site with a lot of Flash.

Thanks especially for the thumbnail sizing tip. I'll keep an eye out for that.

Dan
http://www.DanLaddthehypnotist.com
"Saying 'Everyone is special' is just another way of saying 'No one is.'" --Dash from The Incredibles
MagiClyde
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Columbus, Ohio
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Quote:
One of the biggest bandwidth guzzlers is resizing large jpeg images. Avoid that at all costs. A .5 megabyte jpeg at 800x600 pixels shrunk to a 100x80 thumbnail will eat up bandwidth and take forever to load, even if the visiter doesn't want to see it. Times that by 20 pictures on a page, and that's 10 megabytes of transfer used. You will only have 100 people that can visit your website and view that page. Resize your pictures for thumbnails in photoshop.


This is excellent advice. Many people who put up a website seem to forget that there are still quite a few internet users who still use a dial-up connection to get on-line. The bigger your site is in terms of pictures, flash, and other goodies, the more likely it is that the person will simply get tired of waiting and click off your site. The basic rule of thumb that I have always tried to follow is to design the site for the lowest common denominator, which is the dial-up user with any combination of web browsers.

One reason most people don't adjust their picture size in terms of Megabytes is because they don't realize in the first place just how large it is. This is especially true of lay people who don't have any technical background. All they know it to "point & click" and import the image into their own personal webspace.

What you may want to do, once your site is up and running, is visit it on a dial-up connection and see how long it takes to download. Try different browsers such as IE, Netscape and Mozilla. One website that was put up and reviewed by me worked fine in IE, but a scrolling banner that was at the bottom would not work with Netscape or Mozilla. Little details such as this do make a big difference in terms of attracting users to your site.
Magic! The quicker picker-upper!
ScottRSullivan
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One of the biggest tips I could give in this regard is study up on using CSS to design your site, instead of using tables, image maps or Flash.

CSS separates your images, graphics, layout and design from the content. This way, when people log in, it will load MUCH faster due to the way browsers interpret and cache CSS files

Also, this will make adapting and changing the site much easier down the road. Trust me. You want to change your menu? Change one file and your entire site updates instantly. Visit my site (listed in my sig) to see a simple design, including menus, done with CSS. Kyle really is the person to talk to in this regard.

Plus, the comments about not using Flash are spot on. I use it on my site, but for minor "spice," not for navigation and NEVER for the entire page!

You'd be amazed at how much faster a site loads when you use CSS instead of tables filled with gifs, jpgs, pngs or Flash. And Google will love you, too, since it will be able to access the content much easier.

Remember: While the design may look cool and your viewers may be able to read it, but the "all-knowing" Google cannot read text inside a jpeg picture. Stick with HTML instead of those big image maps. I hate them!

Also, while I study up on CSS and using the web as a promo tool, I'm not a web programmer full time, and because of that, MANY others know much more than I. Several have already chimed in with brilliant comments.

Scott
Rimbaud
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Saint Louis
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Thanks everyone for the advice! I really appreciate it.

While I'm an IT guy in my day job (a DBA), web design is actually fairly foreign to me. I've managed a couple of IIS servers, but never actually built a page. I'm kind of looking forward to getting my feet wet.

I'm thinking about using nVU to build it, since it is open source and the interface seems reasonably straightforward.

If you don't mind my asking, what tools did you use to build your sites? Many of the hosts offer their own in-house site-builder programs--but they all seem a little limited (IE: template driven, and so maybe not as flexible.)

Any other tips or pitfalls I should look out for, I'd be happy to hear.

Thanks,

Dan
http://www.DanLaddthehypnotist.com
"Saying 'Everyone is special' is just another way of saying 'No one is.'" --Dash from The Incredibles
ScottRSullivan
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I actually prefer to build them by hand. My one site is a Drupal site (open source, but hand tweaked), but all my others are entirely hand coded either in Notepad back when I was PC or Coda on the Mac.

Too many of the site building programs inject their own proprietary code into the page coding, optimizing it for IE, for example, which I hate.

Regarding bandwidth:
I also use a TON of video on my sites. Some videos are public, some are in password protected directories for clients.

Even with these videos, I've never had an issue with bandwidth, and I get a LOT of traffic on my sites (and track it very closely with Google Analytics).

I use A2 Hosting and get 100 Gigs of bandwidth for $8/month. Plus all the MySQL/Perl/etc. stuff, which my Reels in Motion .tv site is entire MySQL driven.

Scott
Ethan the emazing
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I used NVU to build a few different pages. I also prefer to hand code the pages for similar reasons as Scott. NVU is a pretty basic site builder. It uses html code.
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