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MMD > Archives > July 2006 > 2006.07.16 > 03Prev  Next

Offering Large Files at a Web Site
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Let me share some of my experiences with offering relatively
large files on the Internet.

First, as it has been mentioned before, sharing large files can be
dangerous to your pocketbook and your web site.  Depending on who hosts
your site and how their bandwidth policies are written, you could find
your site either shut down without notice or receive a hefty bill in
the mail, or both!  This has happened to MMDigest members personal
web sites, so heed the warning.  Check with your ISP before uploading
large files that are accessible to the public.  Find out what will
happen if you exceed your allowable bandwidth limitations.

Second, these days there are a number of reputable ISPs that offer lots
of storage space and unlimited bandwidth for less than $5.00 a month.
However, they offer virtually no support and you must tolerate their
banner ads.  Also, you become your own webmaster and you alone are
responsible for handling every aspect of the site (except whether or
not the site is up).  One company, that I use, will host your domain,
which includes 20 Megs of space and unlimited bandwidth, for _free.
They even offer advice and services for buying the domain name and
creating web pages for the site.  The one I use is

Third, as Terry Smythe noted in his recent posting, there's almost
always a trade-off between good resolution (how a document really looks
to the viewer) and file size.  The only real trick to keeping the file
size to a minimum is to use as few graphics as possible.  Written text
takes up hardly any space, but graphics are a killer.

I use a program called Interactive JPEG Optimizer, and it easily
reduces the file size of JPEG files by 60% with virtually no
degradation in resolution.  It's great for color graphics, which
are typically quite large.  As an example, I reduced a set of color
graphics (for a catalog) from 43 megs to 3.5 megs and all of the text
and images were still very good.  Bit-map and TIFF files are always
large to begin with, so convert them to *.jpg and work from there.

Fourth, if you're really concerned about everybody and their brother
downloading your free information (like Terry's Aeolian file),
consider making the URL (web address) available by request.  Turn the
link from an <a href="">"> to an
<a href="mailto:your-email-address">, and place a note under the link
to let people know that the file is only available upon email request.
This method virtually eliminates the 'simply curious' from the 'I want
that file.'

Also, if you want to help prevent the search indexes from spidering
your site and finding (and listing) the file, make sure it contains
no 'readable' text or meta tags.  Search index spiders cannot read
graphics, but they do read meta tags.  Also, consider storing the file
in a sub-directory that is not linked in any way to your primary
directory.  Spiders only go into sub-directories if there is a link
to that directory in one of the pages in your primary directory.  (You
can also install a 'robots.txt' file in your primary directory which
disallows specific search indexes from spidering a particular directory
or directories.)

Lastly, if you would like any help concerning any of the above
recommendations, drop me a line.  While I don't consider myself a
webmaster or a site designer, I've learned lots of 'tricks' in the past
eleven years of operating and maintaining all of my domains, and I'll
gladly share what I've discovered.


John A Tuttle - (,,,  and others)
Brick, New Jersey, USA
"Keep the Music Rolling"

(Message sent Sun 16 Jul 2006, 17:06:58 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Files, Large, Offering, Site, Web

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