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Making a website work for people with slow internet

 
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For those of you that don't know I recently started an online blog focused on homesteading and permaculture. The site is up and running and getting some decent traffic for a new site but it was recently brought to my attention that people living in rural areas with slow internet (compared to urban areas) can't really view the blog posts on my site. This is not just an issue with my site but with many sites since media (pictures, video, etc.) is now so common.

I have been careful to optimize my pictures to greatly reduce their size - the service I use to build my site has some additional image optimization tools that run in the background when I publish a post. All in all this has made my site load decently quickly compared to other sites according to data from google. But the posts are still too big size wise for people in rural areas with slow internet.

The issue is that everything I have read says that having media rich content is very important these days for a site to show up on google and get decent traffic. So I have been following those recommendations to make the posts more likely to get good traffic and be shared on social media.

So do I just throw my hands up and go for the majority of the traffic from urban areas and just not worry about the rural areas?

Since my site is focused on homesteading and permaculture I would like to find a way to support both rural and urban areas.

Eventually I plan to go with a higher end hosting service which should speed up the site a bit. But I can't do this until the site starts to bring in more money - just can't afford the higher end hosting service at this time.

Do you all have any thoughts on how best to do this? Would people in rural areas with slow internet be able to download a pdf? Would that work better? Perhaps the pdf could be text only?

What do you all think?

Also, how many of you have this issue?
 
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15 years ago, it was reasonable to optimize for the slowest connections around. I had one of them.
But if your internet is that slow these days, a lot of critical services such as email and banking won't even load.
I think you should optimize for the 99%.
It's not like the internet is getting slower - connectivity, speed and options proliferate.

Traditionally, the onus is on the slow-internet user to alter their settings not to display media - this worked really well around 2000 as the majority of media wasn't content, but ads.

You might know this, but you can reduce the resolution of pics as well as increase the amount of compression on formats like jpg.
Users can get browser plugins that will perform extra maximum compression on pics and videos through a 3rd party service before displaying them - I used to find this helpful when using a 1 gigabyte monthly plan.

I consider downloading a pdf from an individual to be a security risk, but others might be willing.
Slow internet users could download a pdf, as long as their service doesn't drop out lots (which can happen on rural connections).
A download manager would allow them to stop and start the process without losing the file, but these are not fashionable any more.

My other suggestion would be to save both a picture and a block of text as a .jpg and host/share it on a site with less bandwidth limitations.

By the way, your site is very aesthetically appealing with clear information - nice job. A little slow to load, but nothing too painful.
 
pollinator
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Two approaches occur to  me:

1)  Investigate smartphone optimized methods. I believe most big sites serve a somewhat different page depending on the type of requester.

2)  Figure out 3 to 5 basic methods to optimize for low speed. Can't help you there, not a designer or webmaster, but I suspect that the first 80+% of your bang/buck can be implemented with less the 6 types of modifications. That's just from what I've seen on how technology in general works. Then, one way or another, decide for each visitor which content to serve. Likeliest way I can think of is serve full content to strangers but for registered uses, provide a "Profile" option where your users can select low bandwidth content, if wanted. Keep the signon page low bandwidth.

There is some work involved, clearly. You would need to find a website provider that would be responsive to your (quite reasonable) needs. And you would need to test it yourself thoroughly to verify what is delivered by the webmaster will serve your purpose. That's not automatic and it's not necessarily trivial to do that testing.

Happy New Year!
Rufus
 
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Even if you move to a higher end hosting, if folks have slow internet service, it really won't help them. The problem is not on your side; it's on their side...the download side. With all the choices today, there is very little reason for anyone to have slow internet no matter where they live...unless they choose it. Yes, finances may be a sticking point for many whether to choose fast or slow internet service, but I would never sacrifice my site for those who choose slower service, since these same folks are very unlikely to be part of your customer base, if you are trying to monetize your site, since they either don't want to spend or don't have money to spend. I don't mean to sound harsh; just realistic. If folks are having a hard time downloading images and/or pdf's they are using an internet service that is 20 years behind the times. JMHO. Your site loads almost instantaneously for me, and I have what I would consider much slower internet service than the majority of people today. In today's world, faster internet is NOT a luxury; it is a necessity...especially for homesteaders who want to learn and keep up with developments.
 
Daron Williams
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Thanks for the replies - I already run each image through a 3 step optimization process. The first is I reduce the image size down to the minimum recommended by the website theme (731 pixels wide in this case). Second, when I'm saving the smaller version of the original image I apply a small jpg compression to it to reduce the size of the file. Third, the service I use to build my site runs each image through lossy compression process to further reduce the size of the images.

The hosting service I'm using is a cloud based service so it is not as fast as I would like but it is also fairly inexpensive and seems to be highly recommended based on reviews I read for a new site. Eventually, I want to upgrade to a dedicated server through a higher end hosting service but that is too expensive at this point to justify for a new site. But that change will speed up my site a fair bit once I go that route.

My site is already made mobile friendly - it currently passes google's mobile ready test with no problems. The site changes when someone loads it on a mobile device. When the site first went live I had a couple mobile friendly errors according to google that I quickly fixed and so far nothing new has popped up.

I guess I'm really trying to decide if I should go beyond these steps...

Thanks again for the replies and thanks for the nice comment about the site design Jondo!
 
Daron Williams
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Jim Guinn wrote:Even if you move to a higher end hosting, if folks have slow internet service, it really won't help them. The problem is not on your side; it's on their side...the download side. With all the choices today, there is very little reason for anyone to have slow internet no matter where they live...unless they choose it. Yes, finances may be a sticking point for many whether to choose fast or slow internet service, but I would never sacrifice my site for those who choose slower service, since these same folks are very unlikely to be part of your customer base, if you are trying to monetize your site, since they either don't want to spend or don't have money to spend. I don't mean to sound harsh; just realistic. If folks are having a hard time downloading images and/or pdf's they are using an internet service that is 20 years behind the times. JMHO. Your site loads almost instantaneously for me, and I have what I would consider much slower internet service than the majority of people today. In today's world, faster internet is NOT a luxury; it is a necessity...especially for homesteaders who want to learn and keep up with developments.



My understanding is that in some rural communities there is a lack of options - here is an article that discusses it from 2018: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-rural-america-broadband-internet.html

What stands out to me is this figure: "39 percent of rural Americans lack home broadband access – in contrast to only 4 percent of urban Americans."

So I'm torn - I agree that most of my audience and especially those that would be willing/able to spend money on future products will have faster internet access. But at the same time as a site focused on homesteading/permaculture I don't want my free content to be out of reach to people who are living in rural areas.

Perhaps there really is nothing to be done beyond what I'm already doing but I wanted to discuss some options and see what might be possible and get a better sense from you all how big the issue is. I had 2 individuals in another thread both mention this as an issue for them which is what made me want to have this conversation.

Thanks for the reply - I do appreciate it!
 
Jim Guinn
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Daron...you don't need a dedicated server...shared hosting would be sufficient and a lot cheaper. If someone is selling you on a dedicated server, they are just looking to make some money off of you. You can have the fastest loading time in the world, but if the viewer has slow internet service, it doesn't matter. Also, most website software today is designed to be pc, tablet and phone friendly, as it seems yours is. You can make yourself crazy worrying about all of your viewers/potential viewers, but if they have a half decent internet service and relatively new computer (tablet or phone), you site will render both quickly and properly. You are not responsible, nor should you twist yourself into a pretzel trying to cater to those who have antiquated service or machinery.
 
Jim Guinn
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Daron Williams wrote:

Jim Guinn wrote:Even if you move to a higher end hosting, if folks have slow internet service, it really won't help them. The problem is not on your side; it's on their side...the download side. With all the choices today, there is very little reason for anyone to have slow internet no matter where they live...unless they choose it. Yes, finances may be a sticking point for many whether to choose fast or slow internet service, but I would never sacrifice my site for those who choose slower service, since these same folks are very unlikely to be part of your customer base, if you are trying to monetize your site, since they either don't want to spend or don't have money to spend. I don't mean to sound harsh; just realistic. If folks are having a hard time downloading images and/or pdf's they are using an internet service that is 20 years behind the times. JMHO. Your site loads almost instantaneously for me, and I have what I would consider much slower internet service than the majority of people today. In today's world, faster internet is NOT a luxury; it is a necessity...especially for homesteaders who want to learn and keep up with developments.



My understanding is that in some rural communities there is a lack of options - here is an article that discusses it from 2018: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-rural-america-broadband-internet.html

What stands out to me is this figure: "39 percent of rural Americans lack home broadband access – in contrast to only 4 percent of urban Americans."

So I'm torn - I agree that most of my audience and especially those that would be willing/able to spend money on future products will have faster internet access. But at the same time as a site focused on homesteading/permaculture I don't want my free content to be out of reach to people who are living in rural areas.

Perhaps there really is nothing to be done beyond what I'm already doing but I wanted to discuss some options and see what might be possible and get a better sense from you all how big the issue is. I had 2 individuals in another thread both mention this as an issue for them which is what made me want to have this conversation.

Thanks for the reply - I do appreciate it!



Satellite service is always an option and has been significantly improved in the past few years. The cost is also not much different from many cable providers. I know because I used it before cable was available in my rural area.

Don't want to appear argumentative, but you are doing just about all you can do from what I have read. Folks have to decide what is important to them and what they want to pay for.
 
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As someone who has less than a 1mbs connection, hopefully my perspective can be of use to you.

Daron Williams wrote: But the posts are still too big size wise for people in rural areas with slow internet.



Something you may not have taken into consideration is that the website advice of "you need a fast loading site or people won't stay to view it" does not apply so much to the rural audience, because they are used to slower load times since they have slower connections.

Daron Williams wrote: My understanding is that in some rural communities there is a lack of options - here is an article that discusses it from 2018: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-rural-america-broadband-internet.html  



The article is a topic I study a lot, as my province's pop is 50% rural influenced, and it's true options are limited. The main reason for it is that a company usually monopolizes a specific rural area, then gets grant $ to improve service, but only moderately "improve" the services while pocketing the rest - at least here in the prairie provinces it's well-documented. /off-topic

However Jim and Jondo are correct, that you shouldn't cater too the 1% :) . But, rural people are not as helpless as has been described. Watching a video in 480p is one thing, but loading a basic website is not a strenuous task. Pinterest&Instagram aren't even that bad, though once in awhile you may tap your foot twice waiting for 5-10 seconds.

I would say not to cater to the internet-deficient, but try to keep them in mind when making your posts.

---

Not that you were looking for opinions, but your site currently feels very spammy to me right now even though the imaging and layout are good.

The "Get your cheat-sheet" and the various other selected freebies you have appear 4 times on every single page: once at the top right, 2 times in the article and a pop out near the end. This not only impacts your audience, but your load time as well. On my crap internet your last ad/offer that loads is the one on the top right, so i'd scrap it and then retest your load times. (I would scrap a 3rd ad personally as 2 is enough, but that's up to you)

Daron Williams wrote:The issue is that everything I have read says that having media rich content is very important these days for a site to show up on google and get decent traffic. So I have been following those recommendations to make the posts more likely to get good traffic and be shared on social media.  



There are not as many homestead sites as you may think, and most of the time they are only optimized slightly. Something that is more important than appealing to google's algorithms is finding the proper niche audience/niche content to appeal to. It is like the big fish/small pond scenario, which is what the whole game is about for bloggers starting out.

 
pollinator
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I am one of the two people who mentioned internet problems on the other thread.  If there is more than two or maybe three pictures, I get timed out or an error message unless I happen to be online at like 2 am.

The only high speed option I have is part of an tv package which I am not willing to waste my time or money on. Apparently that makes me deficient and antiquated.😜  My other choice is to wait until I am in town 18 miles away to access the website.

Daron, I thank you and appreciate your being concerned about access for those of us who might benefit from the information you kindly make available, but I definately understand you have limits.  πŸ˜€
 
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I'm in the same camp as other people with slow internet and not many options. Satellite is all well and good,  unless you don't have a clear view of the North side, or if you get a lot of bad weather and snow. I tried the satellite option and was without functioning internet basically all winter and a lot of the summer during the stormy weather. Options aren't always actual options. It's unfortunate, but a real reality in some parts of the country.

As it stands, though, you can only do your best to make a nice website. It isn't fair to you to sacrifice your hard work for a few people. It's your website, you should be able to run it however you wish.

Back to the topic at hand! One thing you could do is set up a text only section, where your most popular articles are as low tech as possible, without photos or banners.

When my internet is in a tizzy, sometimes websites will load as text-only, which is quite annoying in some cases. By making a section like that to start - with proper spacing and such - it will be quite like what they are used to, except better. That's because there wouldn't be weird gaps in the text or finding a link to somewhere else in the middle of a word.

It's just a thought, if the idea of people not being able to use your website really bothers you. Best of luck!
 
Tina Hillel
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Dem Krebs wrote:I'm in the same camp as other people with slow internet and not many options. Satellite is all well and good,  unless you don't have a clear view of the North side, or if you get a lot of bad weather and snow. I tried the satellite option and was without functioning internet basically all winter and a lot of the summer during the stormy weather. Options aren't always actual options. It's unfortunate, but a real reality in some parts of the country.

As it stands, though, you can only do your best to make a nice website. It isn't fair to you to sacrifice your hard work for a few people. It's your website, you should be able to run it however you wish.



Exactly.  We tried the one internet only satellite option available and it barely worked. It had to be no wind, no rain, no snow, no leaves in the way, no birds flying by etc.  Aggravating, but I know and deal with my limits. Well worth it to live where I love to be.
 
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Not sure what satellite option you tried, and I certainly understand not having a clear view if you live on a very small piece of property surrounded by other houses or your woods are engulfing your house, but my experience with outages were only during severe weather situations (heavy rain or snow) or if I was too lazy to clean the snow off the dish. My down time was not that bad. (LOL Wind and birds do not affect satellite service unless a hurricane blows you dish down or you have a colossal, never-ending flock of birds passing over your dish's line of sight.) BTW...there are at least 2 satellite companies that offer service nationwide: HughesNet and ViaSat. If the company you tried was not one of these, you might want to check them out. I used Hughes 20 years ago when satellite internet was in it's early stages, and even then it put dial-up to shame.
 
Tina Hillel
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Yep it was Hughes Net. We refer to it as "phews net" because the service stunk for us anyway. We have friends perfecly happy with it.

The winds moves the trees around which would interfere with the signal. We have some pretty tall ones.  We did try clearing snow off the dish. Ours even hates light rain.

I admit the birds were an exaggeration. The little ones that like to sit on the dish probably don't block the signal πŸ˜„
 
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My suggestion would be to make sure your blog has an RSS feed. I like to use RSS feeds as a way to keep tabs on blogs without needing to go to their site, thus avoiding the bandwidth hit.
 
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To get an idea why your site is slow: In Firefox open the Inspector (Ctrl+Shift+I), then go the Network tab and check "disable cache" and right next to it change "No throttling" go GPRS. then reload the page and watch it load a billion scripts and assets.

What takes up time on a slow connection is:
- delay: everything that needs to be loaded can delay the whole process by a fixed amount (I had one 1s on a bad connection). So if the page loads 10 items, it can spend 10 seconds just waiting for data to be transferred.
- bandwidth: once data gets flowing, this limits how fast it can flow. Anything from 2kB/s to 2MB/s is common. Size / bandwidth is the time your site takes to transfer all data.

So to get a page that loads fast:
- as few JS and CSS files as possible.
- as few servers as possible. If the browser has to collect data from 10 servers, each connection needs to be established first.
- images with width and height attributes. This allows the browser to reserve space for them without needing to load them. (So the site layout can be computed before all images are loaded)
 
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Daron, are you familliar with webpagetest.org? Can you interpret the results? Take a look at the "Content breakdown" charts in the report for your site. It will tell you about the relative "mass" of various kinds of content. As you can see, images are tby far the most important point to work on.

(Sebastian's throttling idea is also very good.)

Or try Google's Page insights for your site: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wildhomesteading.com%2F

Page Insights is suggesting that you "Defer offscreen images". Which means - make your images load as they come into the user's viewport, not at once even when they are in a part of the page that is not visible to the user at the moment. This can lead to massive savings in bandwidth. Search for "lazy load images" related technical solutions. Whatever else you do, definitely do this.

You're on wordpress, right? Google Wordpress lazy load. You'll see that many plugins for this task exist, so experiment with them. Keep going back to check with Pagespeed insights.

As a minor but still not unimportant point, you could get rid of custom fonts. The site will be somewhat less pretty but the load on the viewer will be lighter.

Looking further down the Page insights output, you can see that your images could (presumably) be compressed / reformatted to a degree which would also bring considerable savings. I say "presumably" because in practice I find hints in this regard to maybe not be entirely reliable. But it's worth a look.

Doing all of the above, but especially the lazy-load thing, should lighten the total download size of the front page of your blog - https://www.wildhomesteading.com/blog/ - to at most 20% of what it is now.
 
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There's some good feedback in this thread. Sebastian, in particular, is nailing some of the issues. He's giving specific technical feedback, however, and I tend to try to aim for a simpler system that's going to handle the details without you having to learn as much.  I run a web design & hosting company and have built about 200 Wordpress sites so, while I'm still a newbie on permaculture, perhaps I can add a bit as well.

Building a website that's going to deliver both high and low bandwidth options well is a considerable headache. My recommendation is to build a website that's streamlined from the ground up for relatively low bandwidth. Let people who are on slow connections customize their browser settings to throttle the content as necessary. Many won't know how to do that - but that's something you might think about researching and adding to your website.

What makes a website fast?
  • Theme selection. There are really good/light ones like https://sepalandseed.com but your theme seems pretty light as well./
  • Plugins. Limit them as much as possible. They all add up.
  • Images. You're optimizing yours to some extent, but still have 1.7MB of images loading with your homepage.
  • Content/architecture. Long scrolling pages make for easy browsing for many people, but are bandwidth hogs.
  • Hosting matters. Dedicated hosting isn't necessary, however. I run dedicated servers for my business but deliver many websites off the same servers. As long as your shared server has adequate resources, it should perform just fine.
  • CDNs - content delivery networks - can greatly speed up delivery of websites, depending on configuration and location.

  • Check out https://tools.pingdom.com/#5a029c05bd800000 for another view of your site, speed and content. Your images seem like the biggest current bandwidth issue and your theme/plugins and the flies they load are the second thing I'd look at.
     
    Daron Williams
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    Jarret Hynd wrote: The "Get your cheat-sheet" and the various other selected freebies you have appear 4 times on every single page: once at the top right, 2 times in the article and a pop out near the end. This not only impacts your audience, but your load time as well. On my crap internet your last ad/offer that loads is the one on the top right, so i'd scrap it and then retest your load times. (I would scrap a 3rd ad personally as 2 is enough, but that's up to you)



    Thanks for the comment - I just wanted to mention this part. All the opt-ins (4 per page) are using a lazy-load system, same with the comments section of the blog post. Essentially, they don't load until someone gets to that part of the page. The widget is up top so that loads at the start unless the person is on a mobile device then the widget is at the bottom. For the first inline opt-in and the popup it depends on the post - the inline is generally up towards to the top and the popup shows up when someone scrolls 10% of the way through the page.

    A note about the popup - it only shows up the first time you visit a blog post. After that it goes away for the next 15 days.

    Crt Jakhel wrote:You're on wordpress, right? Google Wordpress lazy load. You'll see that many plugins for this task exist, so experiment with them. Keep going back to check with Pagespeed insights.



    Yup, and thanks for reminding me about lazy load. My theme provider has lazy load for the opt-ins and comments but I will have to look at the lazy-load pictures plugins. It has been on my list of things to do but I wanted to research it a bit more before using this option. Do you know is there any reason not to lazy-load pictures?

    Edit: Decided to just try it out - I installed a lazy load plugin and  I just checked the google developers site that you mentioned Crt and it looks like it is working.

    Mike Lang wrote:My suggestion would be to make sure your blog has an RSS feed. I like to use RSS feeds as a way to keep tabs on blogs without needing to go to their site, thus avoiding the bandwidth hit.



    The site has an RSS feed setup and it should work - I just had it validated to  make sure

    -------------------

    Thank you all for your comments and feedback! I'm going to look at the images a bit more... I'm getting the feeling that my theme provider's image compression might not be running... Going to look at other options to see what I can do in that department.
     
    Daron Williams
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    I ran my images through another compression tool and it saved a little bit but not very much so I think the original compression tool is working. I will look at it more in the future but hopefully between the lazy load images and the updated compression the site will be a little easier to load for slower connections.
     
    Crt Jakhel
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    Daron Williams wrote:
    Yup, and thanks for reminding me about lazy load. My theme provider has lazy load for the opt-ins and comments but I will have to look at the lazy-load pictures plugins. It has been on my list of things to do but I wanted to research it a bit more before using this option. Do you know is there any reason not to lazy-load pictures?
    Edit: Decided to just try it out - I installed a lazy load plugin and  I just checked the google developers site that you mentioned Crt and it looks like it is working.



    Are you sure? I'm seeing the same scores as before, and when I look at the page source, I don't see the images being treated in any way other than the HTML default (which loads everything).

    On your blog index page the difference should be drastic as you have 5+ images, only one of which is visible upon opening the page. When checking with the browser's inspection tool, I can see all of the images related to various posts being loaded while only the first one is actually in the visible part of the page. Maybe you've disabled the lazy-load plugin at this time?

    A classic indicator of lazy-load code being present is that IMG tags get changed so that the SRC part is substituted with something else (such as a single pixel) and a special attribute is added to hold info about the original; and Javascript code is added which keeps checking which part of the page is currently displayed in the visitor's browser window and loading the actual intended picture.

    This also answers your question about a reason why not to use lazy-load images: it could happen that your visitor has Javascript turned off in their browser. In that case the images would just stay populated by whatever placeholder is in use in your implementation of lazy-load.

    It is very rare these days to have JS turned off but not 100% impossible. However, so many sites now depend on JS functionality that I would really consider it very unusual. Maybe this is helpful: https://blockmetry.com/blog/javascript-disabled

    You could try displaying some text only to the no-JS visitors, if such exist - HTML has had the NOSCRIPT tag since forever and I'm sure there must be Wordpress plugins that allow you to insert a raw HTML snippet somewhere in the page. Your message could say something like "Are you not seeing any images? Let me know".



     
    Crt Jakhel
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    Daron Williams wrote:The site has an RSS feed setup and it should work - I just had it validated to  make sure



    It may exist but there seems to be no mention of it in the page source. Consider this: https://dri.es/rss-auto-discovery

    Since it is a WP site I've tried the default: https://www.wildhomesteading.com/feed/ , and yes, it's there.

    It would probably be best to add a RSS icon somewhere in the page (the footer probably) with the URL location of your feed.
     
    master steward
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    Tina Hillel wrote:Yep it was Hughes Net. We refer to it as "phews net" because the service stunk for us anyway. We have friends perfecly happy with it.

    The winds moves the trees around which would interfere with the signal. We have some pretty tall ones.  We did try clearing snow off the dish. Ours even hates light rain.

    I admit the birds were an exaggeration. The little ones that like to sit on the dish probably don't block the signal πŸ˜„



    I also have Hughes Net, and it used to be so bad that to load a video at 144 (the lowest possible quality,) it would take 2-4 seconds for every second that loaded. I'd often get pages timed-out, too. I sometimes couldn't even log into my bank account. It was dial-up speed. I live 15 minutes from two cities, and this is the only internet available to me. Back in October, they must have got more satellites up so the speed increased a bit, but only sometimes. Sometimes we could load videos at 240...other times we were at dial-up speeds. I have no idea what my internet speed will be when I run out of my 5gb of "fast"(er) internet..

    Watching a video in 480p is one thing, but loading a basic website is not a strenuous task. Pinterest&Instagram aren't even that bad, though once in awhile you may tap your foot twice waiting for 5-10 seconds.



    I couldn't even load facebook, let alone pinterest/instagram. Some pages would take 1+ minutes to load, if they loaded at all. The speed of satellite internet is not the same for everyone.


    As for service being unreliable with hughes net, thankfully I only have mine cut out if there's a BIG storm, like lightning or tons of snow or hail. Thankfully, where I'm at has pretty mild weather, so we'd only have it go out 2-5 times a year.

    =============================

    As a satellite internet user, I find Google Chrome and Opera Turbo essential to making pages load. It also uses less data, so when we only have 5gb of the fast(er) speed (we can stream videos at 240), one becomes quite the data miser so as not to end up on dial-up.

    I actually have a thread on here about How to Use Less Data on Satellite Internet--for non-satellite users, too! with suggestions for those with slow internet.

    One thing that can help with the page loading is to have the WORDS load first, rather than pictures or adds. With some sites, like permies, I can just stop the page from loading after the words load, and then I can at least read things.

    A PDF wouldn't work for many with slow internet unless it's JUST the words and maybe a few lower resolution images. My interent would often give up trying to download PDFs, and then I'd get nothing.
     
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