If you are running a heavy traffic WordPress site, one of the occasions that you may always encounter is hitting the hosting bandwidth. While this shows that your website is doing good (in terms of traffic), you may be hit with a higher-than-usual hosting bill. And this is going to burn a hole in your pocket.
For some reasons, we experienced some traffic peaks in a two months period and we were caught off guard with the hosting bill. It is not the price that shocked us, but it made us think that hitting hosting bandwidth could lead to some challenges especially for small website owners.
So, how do you save hosting bandwidth and potentially saves up hundreds of dollars each month?
We had been using WordPress since 2004 and we have a fair share of WordPress hosting experiences not only with this site but with hundreds of clients' sites. The following are some of the best ways to save hosting bandwidth that we use.
One of the most common mistakes done by many WordPress site owners is uploading unoptimized files directly to WordPress.
Yes, WordPress CMS will scale down the images but this happens only when the images are in use.
So, how to reduce the upload size effectively?
If you are uploading images to WordPress, it is recommended to optimize the images before uploading them to WordPress. Optimized images help to improve website loading speed and reduce bounce rate at the same time. We love using TinyPNG to optimize images in PNG format, while JPEG compression for JPEG formats.
We also install ShortPixel or Imagify for WordPress websites that we manage for our clients to further optimize the images on the fly.
If you are uploading PDF files, you can also optimize PDF by reducing the size using online PDF compressor such as ILovePDF.com.
A CDN serves more than just security and faster loading speed for websites. Using a CDN, you can easily reduce the hosting bandwidth and avoid overages to your hosting bill.
There are many free and paid CDN services that you can use such as Cloudflare. The free plan comes with bandwidth saving features as it serves static files directly from the cache instead of loading from your server.
As the data is not requested or pulled from your hosting server, there is minimal or no bandwidth usage at all for that specific task.
Here's a screenshot of one of the websites that we manage.
In the past 7 days, 12 GB worth of data cached via Cloudflare and this can be an enormous saving for your web hosting account.
A hotlinking takes place when someone embeds content (images, music, videos, and documents mostly) from your site in another site with the direct file URL.
Effectively, the other site is stealing bandwidth and generating unnecessary traffic hits on your website consuming your hosting resources.
If you want to save hosting bandwidth, we recommend you to enable hotlink protection to prevents other websites from directly linking to files on your WordPress website.
If you are using Cloudflare for CDN and security, you can easily enable hotlink protection from your Cloudflare control panel. By default, Cloudflare enables the hotlink protection for all new account created recently.
If you are not using Cloudflare, security plugins such as iThemes security plugin come with hotlink protection.
Do you know that hotlink protection is also very effective in avoiding DDoS and malicious attacks on WordPress websites?
The process of optimizing your CSS, HTML and JS on WordPress doesn't only make your site loads faster, it helps to reduce server bandwidth too.
These files are often big in size and they load automatically for each website visitor.
Optimizing these files will make them smaller in size and directly reduce the size of the page load. If you are using WordPress, installing a WordPress cache plugin will help you perform all the optimization in just a few clicks (no coding skills required).
What is Gzip compression?
Gzip is a form of data compression — it takes a chunk of data and makes it smaller. The original data can be restored by un-zipping the compressed file.
It is relevant to web apps and web sites because the HTTP protocol includes the ability to gzip data that is being sent.
This means that when it is in use, your bandwidth costs for serving the site will be lower because people visiting the site will be downloading file that has been made smaller files.
Most WordPress cache plugins come with Gzip compression feature, including WP Rocket (check it out here).
Saving and reducing hosting bandwidth is critical (for finances) especially when you are using a hosting plan that comes with limits. By using the above methods, you will be able to reduce hosting and server bandwidth effectively, while making your website loads faster.