The modern web is bloated. The average web page in 2017 was three megabytes in size. This is 2020 and I can only expect that the average size of a web page has increased significantly.
Why Bandwidth Conservation Matters
You may be asking yourself: why does bandwidth conservation matter? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few reasons:
- Not everyone has as good an internet connection as you may have.
- Using bandwidth without regard for its beauty encourages us to take for granted what we have.
- Bandwidth still costs money in some areas.
I am lucky enough to have a speedy internet connection. It usually renders modern websites in seconds. I know that other people are not in this position. As a developer, I understand this bestows upon me a responsibillity to keep my inventions clear from fluff. I want to help you conserve your bandwidth.
A Note on Accessibility
Reducing the bandwidth it takes to load my sites lets me improve accessibility. The fewer the bytes being transferred, the more likely it is that you will be able to access my site. Packets will be less likely to drop.
Our principles are:
- Websites should be accessible to everyone, no matter what device someone is using.
- Having access to more bandwidth does not mean we need to use it.
- When possible, text should be used over images and scripts.
Above all, the internet is a place to share knowledge. The easier it is to access websites, the more likely it is that people can benefit from that which other people have already worked out.
Have you ever been frustrated by a website that takes 10 seconds to load? Joining the society will make you part of the solution. Every site that is written with bandwidth conservation in mind can make a difference.
A Call to Arms
I came across a website called the Bandwidth Conservation Society a few weeks ago. I haven’t been able to get them off my mind. They are a group of people who believe in conserving bandwidth on their websites.
It appears as if the group is now inactive. You can view the old website on the Internet Archive. Click here to view the old site on the Internet Archive. I am going to bring it back.
If you work hard to keep the size of your site small, you are welcome to call yourself a member. You do not need to contact me (although it would be great if you did so that I can learn about what you are working on).
How to Conserve Bandwidth
Less is more. This is the mantra that you should repeat to yourself when you are deciding how to conserve bandwidth on your websites. If you are committed to reducing bandwidth, here are a few suggestions on how you can follow through on your commitment:
- Reduce or remove CSS from your website;
- Compress all images or use a technique such as dithering to reduce their size;
- Use Semantic HTML instead of
<div> tags within
<div> tags (this will also help promote general accessibility on your site; two bonuses in one!);
- Reduce the number of images you use on your site. Use images for aesthetics and context, not for the sake of using an image.
- Remove user comment sections. Remove social sharing features.
Optionally, you can post updates on your website informing your readers about how you have helped to conserve their bandwidth. This will help you stay accountable to your goal of bandwidth conservation.
Click here to see my July 2020 site size report. Click here to view the script I use to calculate the size of my website (this link leads to Github).
If you have any ideas on how to conserve bandwidth that you would like to see added to this list, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plain text emails are appreciated.