November 13, 2008

Improve code, reduce bandwidth

by Brian Turner

I was struggling with a problem last month – one of my sites was pulling in excessive bandwidth compared to its user base, and I couldn’t figure out why.

I combed the site stats for signs of a bot, and was surprised to find my own server was using up the most bandwidth.

It took a little investigation from Alex Monaghan to figure out why – one of my RSS feeds was poorly configured.

Like lots of people, I pull the site’s own RSS feed and republish it to the site. I do the same on IB here on the right.

The problem was, I was pulling up the entire feed for a set of featured categories, yet only using the first item. So the the coding was calling up a lot of data, but ignoring most of it anyway.

On a small site it’s not so much of an issues, but on a different high traffic site I run, I managed to reduce the bandwidth from 125GB a month to 70GB just by recoding how the feed was called.

I had used a script to publish the feed, but now I use code within WordPress which significantly reduces bandwidth use and costs, as well as unnecessary strain on the server.

It’s always the littlest things – and it’s worth checking out if you are inviting similar problems if you republish your own feeds anyway on your site.

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