The Site was Pulled Over

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Oct 31, 2006

Filed under: Notices, Random 18 comments

Some of you may have noticed this site was down for most of the day today. I mentioned before that I was burning through the bandwidth this month. My provider is happy to let me do this, and just add the excess to my monthly bill as a sort of fine for not planning ahead. Apparently there is a point where they will stop doing this and – out of pity or mercy – shut the sucker down.

I hate the bandwidth exceeded message. It has a very ghetto, “GeoCities” vibe that just bugs me.

So the site is back up now. However, I need to take some steps or this thing is going to become an ongoing problem. I’m not looking to make money from this webcomic thing, but as things are, it’s going to start costing me some serious money and we can’t have that.

I’m enabling hotlink protection again. This will probably screw up the various site feeds people have set up for the express purpose of reading my comic. Sorry, but this is for the best. Hotlinking is a major drain at this point, and this is a quick way to slow the bleeding. This time the “no hotlink” image is very mild. Lots of nice people linked my comics on their blogs, and the last thing I want to do I blast them with the image of ocular affliction for their trouble.

If bandwidth is still an issue in November, I may scale back to publishing twice weekly on Tuesday & Thursday. This would suck, so I’m not going to do it unless I have to.

This webcomic thing is supposed to be fun. A lark. I don’t plan on turning it into anything more, and I don’t want it consuming the rest of the site. Someday it will end, and the blog will still be here. If the webcomic thing becomes too much of a pain then I will probably tire of it quickly, and it will no longer be fun. So let’s just see if we can avoid that.

Thanks again for reading.


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18 thoughts on “The Site was Pulled Over

  1. Pete Zaitcev says:

    There exist hosting plans with slashdot protection. Check this:

    As for hotlinking, you should’ve never even switched it off. It is alwasys rotten, even when it’s done by someone who does not drive you much traffic.

  2. GreyDuck says:

    Oddly enough, Google’s reader never snagged the images in the first place. I consider this a good thing; I can always click on over to see the comic.

    I had a lot of fun with the MySpace hotlinkers a while back… lots of 1280×1024 wallpaper images from my gallery were suddenly replaced with this:

    Anyway: The comics are great, but the minute it becomes un-fun, stop. For your own sanity, you don’t want to turn something from “fun” to “work” unless it’s making you “money.”

  3. One of the big problems with hotlinking is that a lot of the people who load your image don’t even want to see it. Images linked inline on discussion sites (e.g. slashdot or fark) get loaded every time the thread is loaded, even by people who have seen the image before or who aren’t interested in seeing it at all.

    So it’s not just that it chews through a lot of your bandwidth without any benefit to you, it’s that a lot of that parasitic bandwidth is totally wasted even for the viewers. (It slows the loading of the page they were looking at.)

    That’s why I started using a punitive image for that kind of thing long since. What I wanted was more than just a place-holder; it was something that would actively encourage hotlinkers (or the mods at discussion sites) to remove hotlinks to me. Mostly it’s worked, too.

  4. Will says:

    Good to see you’re back. Did you ever find out if bandwidth resets on the first of the month or your billing date? Waiting only a day wouldn’t be the end of the world, even if it does seem a little ghetto.

    When I started out on the whole web thing, I had no idea how to hotlink. I just copied the images I needed to my own archive and gave a link back to the source. I had no idea how to hotlink. Now I’m glad my habits are what they are.

  5. Will says:

    But apparently I did, at some point, learn how to repeat myself in the same paragraph. (sheesh)

  6. David V.S. says:

    Why not put the comic images on one of the free image hosting sites instead of in your own corner of the net? I would not mind one more click to see the comics, once I was at your blog.

    Also, I like reading the comments. But to do so I must open the entry in its own page, repeating the image load. Do you have an easy setting change to make comments appear in a comment-only page or pop-up? That would probably almost halve your image bandwidth use. As much as I dislike pop-ups, it would be worth it to keep you happy and not wasting money.

  7. google ads, my friend, google ads.

  8. AngiePen says:

    If you ever change your mind about donations, I wouldn’t mind at all tossing a few dollars your way. The comic is great and it shouldn’t be costing you a pile of money to share it with us.

  9. dpmcalister says:

    Google Ads aren’t, unfortunately, the answer. I’ve had them on my site (averaging 1000 hits a week) for the last 2-3 years (I forget exactly how long) and they’ve “earned” me just under $25. I say “earned” because I haven’t received that money yet because you have to wait until you “earn” $100 or more before they pay you!

    Back to the hotlinking. Yeah, it’s a pain. It’s on of the reasons I’ve got it switched off on my website. Just a thought though, but if you’re anti-hotlink thing is an image, isn’t that just reducing, but not removing, the problem? On my site, the visitor gets a Forbidden error message. Saves even more bandwidth :D

  10. A 403-error doesn’t convince people to edit and remove the link. Using a punitive image is an investment, costing more upstream bits per load, but drastically reducing the number of loads. (My punitive image is similar to his but even larger.)

  11. LafinJack says:

    I have no problem with the hotlinking as related to the RSS feed. I like RSS feeds because I’m horribly forgetful and would never check 80% of the sites I do without it. A simple link to the new entry like some sites do is all I need, full content (even text) isn’t necessary. With this you also get credit for any ads you might have.

  12. Rachel says:



    You know, somehow it never even occurred to me that setting up a feed would be hotlinking. I hate hotlinking. I never do it.

    Except, apparently, when I do. Fie.

    I would totally help defray bandwidth costs if you have a paypal account or something, but in the meantime, I can remove the feed and mention to my pals the trouble you’re having, in case they miss this post. I don’t suppose you have an email notification thing for when you update?

    In any event, deepest apologies.

  13. Shamus says:

    Don’t worry about it. It’s all good now. Hotlinking is blocked, and people can see me in the feed and click through to see the funny.

    I don’t want a tipjar, but if you (or anyone) likes the comic, then just keep the google ads in mind and if you see something that strikes your fancy check it out. I like this arrangement, since it scales with traffic.

    Thanks for reading.

  14. Rachel says:

    Yay! *adds feed back*

  15. Julia says: shows what Bob did when folks hotlinked his wallpapers.

    I liked Bob’s solution, but he kept tabs on bandwidth several times a day — don’t know if that’s something you want to do.

    LJ feed shows the hotlink block working. Yay!

  16. Neal White says:

    I would be happy to let you put content on one of my IP addresses. The bandwidth I use at work is tiny with lots left over, (and no metered service so no “going over” for me).
    You avhe my email if it’s interesting to yo ata ll.

  17. bobbert says:

    Links are broken.

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