So you want to make the next Flickr?
Maybe you’re not that ambitious with your website plans, but when you decide that you’re going to make an image-heavy website, it’s important to start considering things like server-load before your site even goes live.
Images, as we’ve said before, use up over 100 times more storage and bandwidth than text. You may look at Facebook, Instagram or Imgur and assume that, because those websites run smoothly (at least most of the time), setting up an image-based website shouldn’t be that difficult.
But it’s easy to overload a server with too much bandwidth when your website starts getting visits. Especially if one of your images is shared on a popular site like Reddit.
VPS (Virtual Private Servers) vs. Dedicated
When you step up from shared hosting, you have two main options: VPS and Dedicated. Even though dedicated servers (which means you have one entire server all to yourself) are considerably more expensive (averaging approximately $200/month),
Virtual Private Servers are more flexible. They are essentially software that partitions a server and devotes that ‘slice’ of the server to your website.
Now, when you website gets a traffic spike, your hosting company responds by using additional resources. The company will charge you for the added bandwidth, but your website won’t go offline.
However, with a dedicated host the amount of bandwidth your website can sustain is finite. If you overload that server, it will crash and you’ll need to reboot it. This can mean thousands (or even millions) of potential website visitors not being able to access your website.
What About The Cost?
VPS is of course more expensive than shared, but you can get VPS for as little as $20/month. We recommend A Small Orange web hosting. They have cloud VPS, which means your website can draw on extra resources when it needs it. Plus we’ve provided a coupon site below that will get you 25% off that $20/month price:
More on ASO’s Cloud VPS: asmallorange.com/hosting/cloud/
Ways to Speed Up an Image-Website:
Cloudflare – this is a CDN (content delivery network) that specializes in making websites faster and delivering images. They also have a ‘lazy-loading’ feature for images so that images only load when you scroll down a post. This makes your website so much faster.
W3 Total Cache – This will cache your website and make it faster and more efficient. When your website gets popular, this adds up to tons of savings. They also have a ‘minify’ feature for your images, so you’ll save around 50% on bandwidth per image.
High Traffic Events to Prepare For:
Reddit Hug – Reddit crashes websites so often that it has its own phrase: ‘the reddit hug’. It actually used to be called the ‘Slashdot Effect‘ – due to that website’s immense popularity. If someone shares an image that your website hosts (and it becomes popular), your website can command hundreds of thousands of visits within just a few minutes.