Hosting photos and server cost

Hi, I am planning a site that has lots of photos, I’d like to get some understanding of the bandwidth used in displaying photos and hence the total server costs and the plausibility of reducing the photo image size, while retaining quality. Can photos be automatically reduced in datasize thru the backend when they are loaded? Thank you for any advice.

When planning to host a large site, you want to be sure that the web hosting package you select has sufficient bandwidth, so that when you do deal with large amounts of web traffic, your server doesn’t crash on you. I think there is possibly photo image resizing software out there. Have you searched in Google and used certain search terms?


Also don’t forget you need to factor in a few KB for the HTML and other images on the site, also you’re likely to have image thumbnails etc. and maybe a couple of different sizes of photos - The thing with photos is that you can’t compress them too much else you start to lose detail really quickly, which on a photo site is not good - Facebook for example suffer from this.

We host one of the largest photo sites on the net and it’s surprising how quickly it all adds up, as most users will view a lot of photos if it’s a community site - if it’s just a repository for people to upload for friends/family then views will tend to be less compared to a photography website where users will view lots of other users photos.


I think that would be the best idea to have low weight for your photos:
1 - you will save on bandwidth
2 - you will be able to cut out your payouts.


Karl’s estimate is pretty good.

From my clients, I get megabyte images for their website. Because I am to link them to be viewed ON THEIR WEBSITES, I will generally resize to fit Karl’s 800 width or 600 height. On today’s monitors, that may be a bit overly restrictive but it does provide a decent size.

Automatic resizing is something I do for clients who want to upload their own images. As part of the upload process, I will resize to the maximum size image first (whether that uses the 800 width or 600 height will depend on the layout of the image), save that file, then reduce it further to a thumbnail size (okay, 200w is a rather large thumbnail but it suits the clients’ websites). “Automatic” is something which a good webmaster will FORCE on any image uploaded. For instance, my panoramas (stitching 8 or more images horizontally) helped me to discover that browsers will REFUSE to display any image greater than 4000px in width (I never attempted a vertical image to determine the max height).

Think like a webmaster, though, as you OWN all the problems if you don’t do it right!



That’s why when you do resize a photo, you can save the original to your desktop, then resize the duplicate photo. This way, you haven’t completely lost out, because you still have the original on your desktop saved, if you make a boo boo , on resizing the duplicate. And…LOL@ Magical algorithm…lol

I wasn’t sure on how automatic size compression would work for everyone, because everyone has different needs. I mean, everytime I use it, it works for me, so i was only speaking on my part. And, like you said, it does depend on the content of the image itself, and how large or small you want to resize it

I would be seriously concerned about using automatic compression or resizing on photo’s for the web, the problem is that the level of tweaking you can apply to an image to reduce the file size entirely depends on the content of the image itself, how many colors are in use, what format it’s saved in, how much detail needs to be retained and a bunch of other factors. It requires a human eye to differentiate between the quality of the image (and when it’s affected) rather than some magical algorithm that can work out what’s an acceptable quality loss - users won’t appreciate having their content mangled and damaged and they will notice. :slight_smile:

PS: You could impose a file size limit, this would prevent heavy duty uploads! I would say no larger than 5MB unless you’re hosting a stock site.


Unlimited doesn’t exist, there is always a limit I’m afraid and a photo site is going to hit it quicker than most othermtypes of site. The site we host has 600px wide images and the max size they allow is 200kb - even then I’ve had to use 50% jpeg quality to get them in under that and it wrecks detail in some photos.


Does the site automatically resize the photos as they are uploaded? Is it important to have ‘quality bandwidth’ to avoid delays? Some hosts refer to ‘unlimited bandwidth’ that obviously is unsuitable for photo websites?

Is there any sort of guideline as to what size is possible, I did some tests and on smaller photos it seemed ok to reduce them to 15k or is that unacceptable? Is there any sort of basic reference of indicative size?

As a general rule I try to get pictures as small as possible while still maintaining their detail and overall quality, that way they load faster in your visitor’s browser.

Ok, lets do some basic maths using some rough numbers:

Say each photo is 100kb in size, that equates to 1mb per 10 photos
Say each visitor looks at 10 photos on average
So 1 visitor will comsume 1mb of data transfer

Let’s bump that up a bit:

Say you get 100 visitors per day, that equates to 100mb of data transfer
Say you get 10,000 visits per month, that equates to 10,000mb (or 10gb)