Monday 28 April, 2014 by Uncle Spike
A while back I was having some real issues with my blog. I was rapidly running out of storage space, and was considering my options, including jumping ship to self-hosting. It was all wrapped up in a post titled Seeking Your Advice.
Since then, much has been learnt. In my post Dumb-ass Views on Blogging! (Part One), I outlined how I arrived at the “Staying with WordPress.com” option to be the most viable and sensible way forward. Now, in this final instalment, I have attempted to cover where I go from here…
So what now? – Staying with wp.com and reducing image sizes down to 1000×562 maximum. I know some will say that is still far too big, but that does allow me the option to move themes in the future and still go for decent quality full screen width images. It does however enormously change the storage requirements going forwards, as even at 1000 pixels wide, the file sizes have dropped by 90%, down to 125-275KB (depending on the ‘business’ of the subject matter).
Image scaling – I don’t have and have no desire for fancy photo-editing software. That’s just not ‘my thing’, and to be honest, all I ever want really is to crop and resize. Now, one of the Spikey’s, a chap by the name of Dennis from Germany, introduced me to IrfanView, a remarkable piece of simple, efficient and useful software that was right up my street.
Developed by a graduate of the Vienna University of Technology, it provides a wide-ranging set of operations, but without all the fancy-pants styling of the well known corporate issues available either free or at some considerable cost in the software market. IrfanView is free, runs with minimal load, is a very efficient image viewer, PLUS it has a batch feature that is extremely quick…
Don’t believe me, read on…
For example: I generally upload images, as many will no doubt also do, from a repository of images built up over the years. Now when I select an image, the last thing I want to be concerned over is resizing – coz I know I will forget, be in a hurry, or just lazy, and with the storage issue, I cannot afford that going forwards. So what I did was to copy ALL my images into a new folder, and then resize the whole darned lot using the IrfanView batch process.
WOW, it is fast, or what?! It handles perhaps 3 files a second, and so, after trying out on a few small folders, I let it tackle a large batch… it resized some 10,000 images in under 60 minutes 🙂 So now, all I have to do is just grab an image from my ‘blog repository’, knowing it’s all ready to go with a civilised file size for a change. You will have in fact been seeing these for the past few days on this blog.
This post link here is what opened my eyes to this free product (READ THIS: IrfanView Batch Processing). To be honest, it’s quite an easy piece of software to navigate.
Storage recovery – I found there is no batch process on WordPress whereby one can resize all the uploaded images on your blog (obviously), so I had to look at alternative ways to reduce my current storage capacity issue (without moving to self-hosting or parallel blogging).
Storage purchase – yes, that would work, but in all honesty, I really don’t have the cash to throw at buying ‘nothing’, especially when it would have to be paid out every year from now onwards, and all due to my own stupidity, so no… that would be too easy – I prefer a challenge 🙂
Image hosting elsewhere – I toyed with Flickr for a while too, but eventually dumped that idea for 2 reasons. End result, too much bother and gets messy in my opinion…
First, to actually embed an image is not that easy, requiring you to use the HTML embed code within the WordPress text entry screen – not the normal Visual one – else it don’t work like it says on the tin! Even then, if someone clicks your image, they immediately leave your post and end up in Flickr midway through reading your post. The only way to get around that is to manually alter the HTML by adding target=”_blank” to ensure your readers are shown your image in Flickr by way of a new window. Too much bother to be honest.
Second, like many Themes, I use a Featured Image, but these MUST be uploaded into the Media Library on WordPress, and cannot just be referenced via the URL. So that means for a post with numerous images, most will be on Flickr, and one on WP; and for a single image post, such as the Weekly Photo Challenges, only WP will be used. So gets all a bit silly if you ask me 🙂
Post deletion – yes, I could go through the catalogue and delete a load of posts, but I don’t know about you, but I spent a lot of time building up those 625 posts and I haven’t the heart to dump a load of them – I like my handiwork after all. Plus, as pointed out to me, should someone locate a post via a search engine and click on it; how would your reputation fare if the link they clicked on came back ‘does not exist’ – fair point indeed.
Image deletion – yes, I could dump some images on some posts, but again, I chose them for a reason, so whilst perhaps there will be the odd example, on the whole I am not going to free up much disc space that way.
WordPress Rescale – there is, I discovered, the facility to ‘rescale’ images one by one on the Media Library. I tried that, spending a couple of hours one night reducing some 90 images from 4000 down to 1000 pixel widths, and thereby from 2.5MB down to 250KB per image. The next day, hmm, no change in storage usage, whereas for a deletion, the affect was seen in minutes. I raised this with WordPress Staff via the Forum, only to find out that the rescale option is ONLY effectual in terms of what you see on the screen – it does NOT change the stored image size. Another lesson learned.
Delete & Replace – yes, this does work… now you might consider it a laborious process, going into each post and deleting and re-uploading a reduced file sized image in every case, BUT as I say, it does work!
As I now have my handy repository of images all rescaled by IrfanView’s batch process, all I have to do is upload these images (which is quick due to the smaller sizes involved), and follow that by deletion of the originals from the Media Library. Yes it takes time, but actually it is quite efficient, particularly when you evaluate the results.
In one short evening stint, I managed to reduce my storage from 2470.23MB down to 2261.14MB. Now that may not sound like a hell of a lot, but that 209MB alone means, using my new reduced file size repository, I can now upload 1000 images in it’s place, and THAT is a massive benefit already.
So, I plan on simply spending one evening a month on replacing images on old posts, and I’m gonna have zero image storage problems for a long long time to come.
So, to summarise…
We live and learn…. apparently
You CAN teach an old dog new tricks