I’m just transferring all the media over for new client who is moving from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress site (using my hosting company Salt & Light Solutions) and it reminded me to write this post…! The photos that had been uploaded to the WordPress.com blog were approx 4MB each (4272 x 2848 pixels!) – this causes a few problems when you transfer to self-hosted. 1) space issues, 2) bandwidth issues and 3) visitor experience – more info:
1) Space – each photo is 4MB – on WP.com this doesn’t matter, you get as much space as you need. As soon as you pay for hosting space costs money. On a self-hosted WP site too the image you upload is duplicated 4 times – you have the original photo and then 3 or 4 different sized versions of the image so a 4MB photo ends up taking up about 6MB of space once WP makes the different versions of the file that it needs.
2) Bandwidth – if your photo is 4MB then each time the full image is downloaded it uses up 4MB of your bandwidth (the data-transfer allowance, so to speak). Most browsers will resize huge images so they fit on the screen nicely BUT you must remember that the full 4MB image will need to be downloaded before the browser will do that. Again, on WP.com, bandwidth isn’t an issue but self-hosted: bandwidth costs money!
3) Visitor experience – if your photos are 4MB each then this means that people with slower connections will have to wait a loooooong time to see an image. Multiply that by 20 times if you have loads of images loading on your home page and you will quickly turn people away from your blog.
So, taking all the above into account, what can you do about it? One option is to resize each photo before you upload it but, let’s be honest here, we’re all busy people and isn’t it just so much easier to select 10 photos from your digital camera to upload as a gallery than to mess about resizing each one? What if the magical WordPress fairies could do all this for you once you upload the photo? Yep – much better!
As such I heartily recommend installing a plugin called ‘Imsanity‘ (just search in the plugin installer and you will find it) which basically resizes any photo you upload and removes the original massive photo. This then gets rid of all three issues mentioned above: space (the 4mb file no longer exists and will be reduced to about 0.3MB), bandwidth (each time the photo is loaded it uses 10 times less bandwidth) and the visitor experience (smaller file sizes means the site loads much faster).
Another advantage of Imsanity is that it can resize any photos already on your self-hosted WP site! One client who I recommended the plugin to freed up about 1.2GB of space!
I hope this helps some WordPress users who have made the switch from WP.com to self-hosted.