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Web Design and Hosting by James A. Peden of Middlebury, Vermont - Award Winning Web Designers

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TECH TALK ABOUT CONNECTION / TRANSFER SPEED


Ever notice how some web pages are so very, very slow to load on your browser?  This is because every photo has to be transferred from the web server to your desktop "pixel by pixel" through the internet system, and every html page must be transferred, "bit by bit" as well.  How fast this information comes to you (how many bits in a specific unit of time) is what is commonly known as "bandwidth".

A slow loading page could be caused by one or more of 4 different reasons:

  1. You have a slow modem, which can only take in information at a proportionally slow rate.

  2. The page you're downloading (trying to see) is excessively large in size, or has too many large photos or images on it.

  3. The web server (serving computer) from which you are retrieving the information has an inadequate connection to the internet (not enough bandwidth).

  4. It's the rush hour, the main internet routes (pipelines) are jammed, and the whole internet system is running slow.

Of the 4 above, the only thing you control on your home computer is the speed of the modem or type of ISP connection you have, which is #1 above..

#2 is the fault of the webmaster (who put too much on a single page) or his/her client (who insisted on it)

#3 is the fault of the web site owner who chose the wrong hosting company

#4 can't be cured by anyone, any more than anyone can control the rush hour traffic across the George Washington bridge.

Take a look at the table below, and remember that "Kbps" means "a thousand bits per second", and "Mbps" means "a million bits per second".

Connection Type Connection Speed
Modem 14.4 14 Kbps
Modem 56 56 Kbps
ISDN 64-128 Kbps
T1 1.54 Mbps
DS1 1.54 Mbps
T3 44.7 Mbps
DS3 44.7 Mbps
OC3 155.5 Mbps
OC12 655 Mbps

Most local or regional ISPs (Internet Service Providers) use T1's or T3's, and while this is usually fine for email (which are small files), web sites hosted with them can often bog down when many thousands of users are downloading their email in the morning or at home after work.

I use a first class UNIX server and the great Apache server software which we lease through the Vario family, and our connection to the main internet is through redundant OC3 connections.  Simply put, we have bandwidth to burn, and if there's a slowdown in viewing YOUR web site hosted on OUR server, it isn't because of any technical shortfall on our part.  Also, our server is monitored constantly by a professional staff, backed-up daily, and has backup power that can run indefinitely if the commercial power fails.  Should the server suddenly decide to die a violent death (it happens, all machinery eventually gets toasted in one way or another), a standby server is available and your site will be back on line in a short time.  We average better than 99.99% continuous uptime - the best in the industry.

Most people shopping for a web site never ask about the server type or it's connection quality to the internet, and many get suckered in with "cheap" hosting which may be a cheap NT box running out of someone's basement through a bargain basement ISDN line with no real backup.  And there's no real way for you to check it out.  Buyer beware!

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Design by James A. Peden
Copyright 2000-2004

Hosted by  Middlebury Networks. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 23, 2004

Keywords for this site are: Jim Peden, James A. Peden, web, design, designer,
designers, html, hosting, internet,Unix, Microsoft, FrontPage, front, page, 98, 2000,
Java, JavaScript, script, CGI.  Site description: Web Design by James A. Peden -
Jim is an award-winning web designer specializing in small businesses