4 Options To Save Bandwidth, Speed Up Web Browsing

2 Mar/12

There are certain situations where it may make sense to save as much bandwidth as possible while connected to the Internet. The most obvious is if you are limited to a certain amount of bandwidth per month, after which you are either cut off from the Internet or have to pay extra fees for all additional traffic that you have caused in a billing period.

A second if your Internet connection is not the fastest, to cut down on the time it takes before websites are completely loaded on the computer.

This guide looks at some of the options that you have at your disposal to speed up your Internet browsing and save bandwidth at the same time. Lets start.

1. Opera Turbo

Opera Turbo is a feature of the Opera web browser. It basically routes traffic through an Opera server where it is compressed before it is send to the user computer. The compressed web pages are considerably smaller, which saves bandwidth and speeds up the time it takes to fully render the page in the browser.

opera turbo

Opera Turbo offers two modes of operation. First an automatic mode which enables Opera Turbo whenever a slow network connection is detected by the browser, and second an always on mode so that the feature is activated all the time.

2. Faking the user agent

Many websites perform a user agent check during connection to determine the web browser and device a user is using to connect. Here on Ghacks for instance, you are either taken to the full site or the mobile site depending on the header.

The mobile site is often reduced to the bare minimum as the connection speed of mobile clients is on average lower than that of desktop systems. The advantage here is that mobile sites transfer a lot faster and use less bandwidth because of this. Faking the user agent of your desktop browser could provide you with these benefits. Keep in mind though that you may not be able to use all of a site’s functionality because of this.

This can usually be done quite easily with the help of browser extensions. Google Chrome users can for instance install the User-Agent Switcher in their browser, Firefox users the User Agent Switcher add-on for their browser.

user agent switcher

3. Disable Features

A third possibility would be to disable features on some or all websites to save bandwidth. You could for instance disable all plugins to block plugin contents from being loaded at all. That’s for instance useful on sites that make use of Flash contents.

The options do not end here though. Most browsers let you disable images for instances or JavaScript to reduce the amount of data that is transferred further.

Google Chrome users can for instance block images, JavaScript and plugins in the browser’s settings.

chrome disable features

Extensions like Adblock Plus or NoScript can also block some page elements from being loaded.

4. Disable Prefetching

Prefetching technology loads web contents that you may visit to speed up the page rendering time if you do. If you do not visit the prefetched web pages, bandwidth has been wasted.

Chrome: Enter chrome:\\flags into the address bar of the browser and hit enter. Make sure the following features are disabled:

Disable hyperlink auditingPreload Instant Search

Enter chrome://chrome/settings in the address bar, tap on enter and make sure the following features are not enabled:

Predict network actions to improve page load performanceAutomatically send usage statistics and crash reports to Google

Firefox: Enter about:config into the address bar and hit the return key. First time users need to confirm that they want to continue. Filter for the term network.prefetch-next and double-click it to set it to false if it is set to true.

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