When creating and maintaining a website, an important task is to ensure your website is optimized. This means optimizing all multimedia content for your website and ensuring you are providing a good, quick user experience for all of your visitors. When your website is unoptimized, your website will quickly use server resources unnecessarily. While we provide free web hosting to most parishes throughout the Archdiocese, we do incur additional costs based on our server resource usage. To help us keep those costs as low as possible, we ask that all parishes do their best to keep their storage space and bandwidth usage low. cPanel offers multiple tools to help you keep an eye on things so that you will know if you need to make changes.
The Disk Usage tool available in your cPanel will show you a breakdown of all the files in your account. Using the Sort by Size option will quickly allow you to see which folders (and files) are taking up the most space and will give you a good idea of what you can clean up to make a difference. Having a lot of files isn't necessarily a bad thing, but having a lot of files that are not optimized (such as full resolution images that are 1MB+ each) will quickly fill up your free allocation of disk space. For help with optimizing your images, take a look at our article Optimizing Images for the Web.
Bandwidth is the amount of information that your website transfers. For example, if you upload a 20MB PDF Bulletin to your website, and 500 users download that over the course of a month, your website's total bandwidth would be over 80% used up (500 x 20MB = 10GB). In order to best understand your website's bandwidth usage, you can use the tool "Awstats" which displays analytics about your website visitors. To access Awstats for your domain name, click Awstats under the Metrics section of your cPanel, and then click the View button next to your domain name. In Awstats, you can scroll down to the File type section to see which file types are consuming the majority of your bandwidth.
Another quick way to identify problems on websites with high bandwidth usage is to check the Disk Usage and see if any large files are present. If you are hosting a lot of large files on your website, you're greatly decreasing the amount of visitors who can see your website before you consume all of your bandwidth.
Another common cause of high bandwidth usage is directly hosting audio/video files on your website. While you technically can do this, our servers are not optimized to serve audio and video files, so you are much better off utilizing a specialized host for those files. YouTube is a popular choice for Video files, while Dropbox is a popular choice for Audio files.
Other Optimization Considerations
If you are running your website on a CMS that is resource intensive, it is important that you take additional steps to optimize your website wherever possible. WordPress is one notable example where additional optimization can be the difference between a slow, unresponsive website and a fast, engaging one. Plugins and Themes are major culprits in adding additional overhead functions to each page load so choosing the right ones is important. Check out this list on Slow WordPress Plugins. You can also temporarily install the WordPress plugin QueryMonitor to see a breakdown of the time each request takes on each page of your website.
Keeping your website's resource usage low is important for providing a fast, engaging website that visitors will enjoy. If after following the above suggestions for keeping your resources in check, you're still having problems, make sure to reach out to us for Support.