That’s how I feel all-too often when I’m trying to write a post, edit, check comments, or whatever I do to spend so much of my time here, and the site slows down or comes to a halt. It’s about as much fun as a car doing that on the freeway. CC has had a tendency towards slowness from pretty early on, and there is a valid reason: we’re chock-full of big pictures. Large images take huge amount of memory and bandwidth, as our hosting service is always so eager to point out. Even google keeps telling me CC might be losing ad revenue as a result of it. So here’s the question: do you click on our pictures, in order to see them in their full size?
We’ve already limited image uploads to 1200 pixels,which is what the picture above has. If you (left) click on it, its full size will instantly burst up on your screen. That means that even though the (unclicked) pictures are much smaller on the regular page, the server has to load up the large pictures on your device every time the post is read, awaiting your click to pop it up instantly. That is a huge amount of info to be served, especially if it’s not being utilized (188.6 KB, in the case of this particular 1200 pixel picture. The exact amount varies, depending on the image content).
Here’s the same picture, reduced in size before uploading to 550 pixels, which is the correct sizing for the post as it appears on our pages. If it’s clicked, the same size appears. It has 58.9 KB, or less than a third of the digital info as the one above.
I have typically uploaded my images at 800 pixels, like this one. It does allow for a meaningful enlargement if clicked, but obviously not as big as the 1200 version. It takes 98.5 KB, just a bit over half of the 1200 pixel picture. That’s a substantial reduction in bandwidth-hogging, for a modest reduction in picture size.
So the big question is: how many folks actually click on our pictures? And if any do, how big is big enough? And if we didn’t offer any enlargement at all (middle picture), would that be a problem?
Our total file size is getting huge (Ed Stembridge has the exact number), and our only options to improving site loading are to pay for a higher level of hosting, or cut down on image files. What say you?
Update: paying for a higher level of hosting is not really that expensive or a problem; but it would be good to know that it’s worth it if folks are clicking the pics.