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Planning > Website > Step 2 — Bandwidth

Step 2 — Bandwidth

Web pages are programs designed to be viewable across the Internet. This is analogical to how programs have code that makes them run. Each webpage is temporarily downloaded from a super-computer (called an HTTP server) into your browser. If software is accessed over the Internet, it must run on the server (called server-side script).

Web host: When we install a Content Management System (CMS) into your website, it will be a server-side script. It's basically renting a piece of someone's computer (a server, web host). There are usually multiple servers that contribute to a website. One stores the website, another runs the database, another runs the Email, another runs video, another runs PHP functions, etc. Then there's client-side scripting, which uses your computer for processing to free up some bandwidth inside the server (processing-power).

Bandwidth is basically a sector of a wire. The circle of a slice of cable is divided up into channels, or strands of information. We can only fit so many strands into a wire. Cable internet means that you're renting a strand of wire, also called a channel. DSL is a much more narrow strand, and dial-up is an extremely narrow strand of data. The bigger the strand, the more data you can pump through it. Think of it like a water pipe or vein. The wider the vessel, the more water you can pump through it.


Web pages can be looked at as blood cells. Blood-flow can be looked at as data-speed. The blood vessel is bandwidth. The bandwidth is like the vein or capillary. The smaller the blood vessel, the slower the blood-flow. All the vessels of the body aren't arteries or veins, but some are capillaries. Cells are pumped through at different rates. Therefore, each cell (webpage) has to be designed for the slowest blood-flow (data speed).

Images and bandwidth: since we have to design pages so a 56 kbps modem can access them, we must allow for 56 kilobytes to load each second. This puts a limit on the quantity and quality of images being displayed on the webpage. The point of this explanation was to describe why page-load-speed isn't instant. It isn't just images either affecting load-time, but also, the server bandwidth, server processing power, amount of clients accessing the server, amount of HTTP requests and client-side scripting. We must design with this in mind, so we must go easy on the images in a slideshow or insignificant decorations. This portfolio is an excellent example of a balance of images.