JPG Compression - IntroductionIntroductionAs a webmaster, I'm always looking for new ways to reduce the total amount of bandwidth (website data being requested by client and sent from server) our website uses to save money on what can be expensive monthly hosting bills.Unfortunately, we no longer have the luxury of unlimited outbound bandwidth like past years. This can be attributed to several reasons; firstly we draw a quite a bit of traffic, as a result we no longer use a shared server but our own dedicated servers which obviously means we no longer use free servers, like in the early days of our existence. If you want a website which is going to be up and accessible 24 hours a day, like we try to maintain here at TweakTown, you have to pay for it - and this usually includes outbound bandwidth transfer. Because of this, webmasters spreading the globe have to continually look at new ways of reducing the amount of bandwidth their websites use for the simple reason, bandwidth is not cheap. Being a tech site, we include a lot of JPEG (or JPG as they are also known as - I will refer to JPEG as JPG in this article. "JPG" is the three letter DOS extension of JPEG) images in our content, which is one of the biggest elements of our website that draws the most amount of bandwidth.As a side note, a new version of JPG is currently being developed, currently dubbed JPEG2000. This new version of JPG is apparently set to improve the current JPG compression making images load quicker by improved compression methods. According to the JPEG2000 website: "The JPEG 2000 initiative is intended to provide a new image coding system using state of the art compression techniques, based on the use of wavelet technology. Its architecture should lend itself to a wide range of uses from portable digital cameras through to its use in advanced pre-press, medical imaging and other key sectors."I've written this basic article for webmasters and site owners showing how they can significantly reduce the amount of bandwidth they use by compressing JPG images, one of the most common formats for web images. While we don't normally publish web development type content like this on our site, looking around at various sites, I thought this article may prove to be useful for some. This article was not intended to be read by experienced webmasters with knowledge in the area of JPG compression, but webmasters who don't know how to tweak images by compressing them down thus saving incredible amounts of bandwidth and decreasing page load times, yet maintaining image quality.
JPG Compression - JPG Compression, a wonderful commodityJPG Compression, a wonderful commodityJPG images are good when it comes to compression. The best lossless (image quality) compression for photographic based JPGs I could achieve was 2:1 with no effect on image quality. I found most photographic based JPG images can achieve a compression ratio of anywhere from 10:1 to 25:1 - without visible loss in image quality. Although when trying to compress non-photographic images, such as screenshots from Windows, the loss in image quality becomes more noticeable than ever.The first image below is the original image (2:1) and the image below it is has been compressed to a ratio of 25:1 using Paint Shop Pro 7 by Jasc Software - I'll explain how to physically compress images shortly.Original Compressed Image (2:1) - 61.3kb
JPG Compression - Compressing through Paint Shop Pro 7Now I've shown you the benefits of compressing JPG images, I figure some of you may need a bit of guidance on how exactly it is done since many programs don't have a real emphasis on this area.While there are several programs you can use to compress JPG images (and other formats for that matter), I choose to use Paint Shop Pro (PSP) 7 by Jasc Software for the simple fact I already had it installed on my system and after trying a few different programs I found it to be one of the most easiest to use, as well it is one of the most popular graphics editing programs around. You can download a 30-day trial copy of Paint Shop Pro 7 from the Jasc Software website.Step 1 - OK, so you have your JPG image open in PSP, click Save As like you usually would, which brings you to this screen:
JPG Compression - ConclusionI hope this short article has been helpful and interesting to those who didn't know much about JPG compression before reading. If your website is based heavily around JPG images which aren't yet compressed, you should be able to halve your bandwidth usage per month, at least. Remember though, there are also a cavalcade of GIF optimization programs out there if your website has a focus on GIF images more so than JPG, a Google search proves this.I didn't set out to put hosting companies out of business by posting this article, but the facts are simple - with the way the advertising dollar is right now, us webmasters need to do everything possible to cut back on costs while maintaining quality websites, and in this case, image quality.If you have any comments or other suggestions about saving bandwidth, please leave your comments in our Application & Web Development forum.
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm CDT
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