- 1. The total file size of your pages, including the size of any images embedded in them. If your home page contains ten 100,000-byte (100KB) images, your users must download roughly one megabyte of data before they can see the complete page. Be sure to choose appropriate image file formats for your images, and think about placing large images on separate pages that users can follow a link to if they are really interested. Also, be aware that audio files, such as .mp3 files, and video files, such as .avi and .mpg files are extremely large and will certainly chew up a great deal of data transfer in a hurry.
- 2. The speed of your visitor's connection. A visitor with a 56K modem can only transfer an absolute maximum of 56,000 bits -- not bytes -- per second. 7,000 bytes per second is the most such a user could ever succeed in transferring from your web site, and in reality, their connection is always slower than that. You can't change this, so make sure your site design does not force users to download large images unless they actually want to see that particular picture.
- 3. Your web hosting company's policies. To your users, your website appears to be fast if pages and images load quickly and completely. If your web hosting company has sold too many accounts to popular sites, so that the speed of their connection to the Internet is overwhelmed by the amount of data being transferred, then your web site will be slow. Your website can also be slow if the web server that your hosting company has placed your website on is overwhelmed by poorly written CGI, PHP or other scripts that place too much of a load on the CPU. If your web hosting company has not oversold their connection or overloaded the server, then your website will be nearly as fast as the visitor's connection allows.
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