Avoid Bandwidth Overage Fees in Volusion
I was all too familiar with the overdraft fees my bank charged me in my college days. With the delays in when my account reflected credits and debits (like checks being cashed late), I was constantly paying $35 fees for occasions when the bank lent my account $4 to cover a transaction. I couldn’t understand why the fees were so high, since I considered myself a potentially valuable customer (as a temporarily embarrassed millionaire) who shouldn’t be treated with such egregious inconsideration.
Of course, it turns out that those fees are simply a steady revenue stream for banks. They would have no reason to eliminate them, and they “encourage” you to avoid them anyway. Volusion adapts a similar model for their overage fees. Although Volusion has a reporting platform that lets you monitor your usage, they have no incentive to lower it for you. When ranked against other eCommerce platforms, Volusion does the best in nearly every category except this one, and for many eStores it’s a trade off that ends up costing them much more than they expected.
There are things you can do to keep from spilling over the edge. Sometimes you’ll have little choice but to opt for a larger plan that gives you a bigger allowance, but they don’t offer unlimited bandwidth in any of their plans, including their unpublished enterprise package. If you get to that level, you might have to consider migrating to a new platform.
I’ll go over some steps you can take to cut down your overage fees to save you from unnecessary expense.
Identify movable files
The actions you need to take for a quick and cheap money saver involve moving the files which take up the most bandwidth but aren’t necessary to be hosted on your server, and setting them up in a cloud server or on another host that gives you unlimited bandwidth.
Identify which files you are able to move. Index files and other files that are inaccessible and necessary can’t go elsewhere, so be sure to leave those types of files where they are. If files are available for customers to download, you’re going to need to host them on your site.
Get a host or cloud server to house your files
You’ll need to find somewhere else to host the files, and you have a few options with different costs that you need to consider. You could use an inexpensive web host like Hostgator to store your files for a very low monthly cost; use coupon code “1digitalagency” at checkout to save 25%. Or, for a bit more money, you can use Amazon’s S3 server to house your images and other files. The S3 (Simple Storage Service) brings with it the advantage of Amazon’s extensive storage framework.
You’ll be rehosting all the moveable files you identify, but for this example I’ll focus on rehosting your image files because I know you can transfer them safely. It’s better to imitate Volusion’s directory structure on your file server site to make things more manageable. If you’re using the Easy Editor to upload files, you’ll find them in the /vspfiles/assets/images folder. The product photos themselves are found in /vspfiles/photos, while manufacturer logos, category headings, color or size option related swatches & photos and other kinds of images are located in other places.
Use an FTP client like FileZilla to download the /vspfiles folder in its entirety and drag it into your file server.
Let’s say your store is at www.examplestore.com and you set up a file hosting website named www.exampleserver.com. Now go through the HTML on your Volusion store and edit both absolute & relative URLs in the image tags to replace the domain name, or for relative URLs add www.exampleserver.com before the file path and file name.
If you see a tag such as:
You should edit it to look like:
Or if you locate a relative tag such as:
You should edit it to look like:
That’s it! Now the files you have updated will be hosted in your new storage site and will not count toward your Volusion bandwidth. Although the example was for image files, you’ll want to go through any file that can be removed, including large PDF documents, sample MP3 audio tracks, videos, etc. Just remember to organize the files by usage and remove the heaviest offenders that use the most bandwidth. This is a good bit of work even for tech savvy users, but considering the costs you’ll save it’s definitely worth it.