Minimizing Your Online Footprint

Global Internet Usage

Internet usage amongst the world’s population has increased significantly. Since 1990, 30.2% of the world’s population uses the Internet. Since the year 2000 there has been a 480.4% increase, which is quite substantial. North America has the largest Internet footprint in the world at around 70%, followed by Oceanic regions such as Australia, and then Europe. This increase in Internet usage has burdened the global Internet infrastructure, and every user is adding to this. One way of lessening the burden is by minimizing our Internet footprint. This basically means that we can adopt a few simple practices that will ensure that we use the least amount of bandwidth and therefore help strengthen the Internet.

Bandwidth Usage

Every click on a web page link, or every search on Google results in Internet traffic being exchanged. This traffic crosses and is processed by network devices that form a web of infrastructure, hence the term World Wide Web. Every YouTube video consumes bandwidth as well, and large movie downloads also result in increased web traffic. This affects both you and me. First, it affects you because if you have an Internet cap limit set by your Internet service provider, then the more Internet you use, the more you will pay if you cross the limit. Secondly, it affects everyone else because the more traffic that you impose on the infrastructure, the slower it becomes for the rest of Internet users that are sharing that same infrastructure.

Tips On Lessening the Internet Footprint

Here are a few simple tips that can help lessen the online footprint.

  1. Download actual music files instead of playing YouTube videos. This tip basically means that instead of playing a YouTube video to hear your favourite song, you can download the actual MP3 and just play that. This will reduce your Internet traffic because every YouTube video you watch, it consumes bandwidth in order to download it to your system. YouTube downloading is also known as streaming media, and every time you watch or listen to a different clip, you are consuming bandwidth.
  2. Don’t use short URLs. Short URLs are provided by different web services such and help make a lengthy hyperlink into a short one that can be pasted or written out easier. How does this increase the online footprint? Well, every time you click a short URL, it has to trace itself to the real URL or hyperlink, which results in slowing down the Internet. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use short URLs at all, but what I’m suggesting is basically using less of them in order to keep Internet speeds up.
  3. Work offline when viewing common websites. If you’re commonly viewing the same website over and over again, you can use the offline feature of your web browser and download the material to your computer so you don’t have to send traffic on the Internet. Even if you need a certain site for any reason when you don’t have a link to the Internet, say you’re out of the house, you can use the offline feature prior to leaving and download the website to view later.
  4. Keep track of downloads. Often people keep downloading the same file over and over again, even though they have an original copy of it in their downloads directory. Keeping track of all your downloaded files can help in knowing when not to download a duplicate file. This too will reduce unnecessary Internet traffic.

By reducing the traffic on the Internet we can help make sure that the Internet stays fast and responsive.


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