News Post

File size limits

Jake the Admin

March 9, 2023

This is an unfortunate update to have to make, but to put it plainly, I'm going to start limiting large file downloads.

As I've talked about in some previous posts, the expenses for the site have been growing every month. These are the bills for the last six months:

  • October 2022 - 17,765 JPY
  • November 2022 - 24,234 JPY
  • December 2022 - 21,890 JPY
  • January 2022 - 21,846 JPY
  • February 2022 - 24,150 JPY
  • March 2022 - 23,013 JPY

The bills are for the previous month, so the March 2022 cost was for all of the server activity from February 2022, and so on. The services are priced in USD and then changed to JPY for billing, so the recent exchange rate fluctuations have increased the cost as well.

About half of every month's bill is bandwidth - data sent from ALTopedia's file storage system. The other half of the bill is pretty fixed - things like the web server and database, which are able to operate on a relatively inexpensive level without the price changing based on usage. But more users bring more demands on the bandwidth, so it's only grown every month.

The issue is that every time someone posts something like a 100 MB PowerPoint file, even if only 10 people download it to check it out, that's 1 gigabyte of bandwidth that I have to pay for. It's gotten very easy to upload and share these huge files, but there hasn't been enough revenue coming in from things like the Patreon to offset these costs.

Starting in May 2023, I'm going to limit every file download greater than 40 MB to subscribers only. This is going to make the files for some beloved activities inaccessible, but it's the only way that I can start to cut down on the expenses to run ALTopedia without significantly compromising the technical capabilities of the site. I'm giving some warning so the transition isn't too jarring, but now that the bills are regularly exceeding 20,000 yen per month, I've decided it's finally time to start imposing some limits. I may revise this size up or down depending on how effective it is in controlling the bandwidth bill.

I've updated the Support the site page with a clearer explanation of how you can subscribe and what you can do with a Subscriber account. Please consider subscribing if you have the funds!

  1. janeroboi March 9, 2023

    Can we start a donation page (similar to how wikipedia does it?) I would be happy to donate some $$$ monthly as I have found ALTopedia invaluable!!

  2. robertsbp March 10, 2023

    @Janeroboi it looks like you can make one-off donations at their Ko-fi! check the Support the Site Page link!

  3. sbrshteacher March 10, 2023

    I wonder if people can utilize sites like Google Drive more. Here, they can include a link to the Google Drive file, where people can go and download it, and those costs won't be borne by ALTopedia. Just a thought. :)

  4. robertsbp March 10, 2023

    ^^ this is also a good idea, especially for those uploads that are over 100 mb lol

  5. sbrshteacher March 10, 2023

    Not sure if it can be made into a "requirement," but maybe if there were a reminder somewhere or simple instructions on how to do it? Though I think most who are tech-savvy enough to know how to use ALTopedia can probably also use Google Drive.

  6. jasonX March 10, 2023

    That's really expensive.
    You could get a dedicated server from Hetzner without download restrictions, for about 5500 yen monthly (check the server auctions).

  7. Jake the Admin March 10, 2023

    Some people have given feedback that they can't access Google Drive or YouTube at their schools and this limits their ability to download activity files. I haven't tried to prevent this because it saves some bandwidth on the site, but it's a bit of a tricky situation since it can be frustrating for people when they want to check out an activity but can't download it.

  8. badartist March 10, 2023

    I think providing a google drive link in addition to the upload would be helpful regardless. I'm sure most of us are capable of downloading a file at home if schools can't access it, it would just be a bit inconvenient for non-subscribers who are trying to get a file on the day that they have class.

  9. UonumaRobert March 10, 2023

    The non-subscriber limit is still 40MB. That covers the majority of the material on the site anyway. If non-subscribed users can't get access to a bigger file for whatever reason they can just find something else. Almost every topic on the site has alternatives that are smaller that are often as good or better. With a few exceptions its just flavor bulking up the size of most of the big activities.

  10. KobeALT March 10, 2023

    Provide a link to Google Drive if you can, but please upload the file as well! Drive is blocked in my school and throughout Kobe, which means 200 ALTs are going to go without. I am sure they are not the only BOE that does this.

  11. UonumaRobert March 10, 2023

    or maybe if a poster can't subscribe or wants their materials available to non-subscribers they could put the bulkier file in a google drive with a link and then post a more modest version. As an example I was looking at one of the recent story powerpoints. Its beautiful and has lovely background music but the background music isn't really necessary, the ALT will mostly be talking while showing the presentation. Cutting the audio reduces the file from 52MB to 16MB.

  12. ChetBorneo March 10, 2023

    A lot of the files sizes could be reduced if people actively tried to. There is often a lot of unoptimized activities uploaded which, while great, could definitely have the file size reduced in one way or another.

    There is a recent PDF uploaded which is and incredible 155mb. It can be compressed down for free at the Adobe website to between 24mb and 38mb depending on quality wanted.

  13. robertsbp March 10, 2023

    Just a heads up for those of you making original Powerpoints, PP has a compress images function that optomizes the images slide by slide, so they aren't displayed in their full vector size. Doing so for my most recent activity cut the file size by more than half and optimized the flow of the PP as a whole.

  14. UonumaRobert March 10, 2023

    No shortage of tricks people can learn about powerpoint over time. Main thing in my mind 40MB is plenty and if you really really need the bigger fancier stuff, chip in.,

  15. UonumaRobert March 10, 2023

    Same if you want to share fancy going forward. Nothing wrong with free having a limit.

  16. scrying March 13, 2023

    just subscribed, when will it be reflected in my account? also, thanks for keeping this site alive.

  17. UonumaRobert March 13, 2023

    So I tried the picture compression thing this morning. Deleting the trimmed image data compressing the images to 96ppi. It reduces the file sizes by quite a bit, doesn't seem to effect animated gifs, and I can't see any real difference in the pictures before or after. Although my eyesight isn't great and I haven't checked how it looks on the projector yet. Whether blown up to a larger size the drop in quality will be more noticable. Question though. Why is 96ppi the only option not grayed out?

  18. UonumaRobert March 13, 2023

    Tried it on a couple of mine on the projector, looked the same and on the TV, I could kind of see a little difference but thanks for the information. The challenge with learning powerpoint on a Japanese computer is I only learn what tabs do through trial and error or research and guessing. Its not going to be a silver bullet for reducing many of the huge files. That is still going to come down to heavy audio and way too many many animated gifs and game sprites.

  19. UonumaRobert March 13, 2023

    I tried reducing the file size on one of the whales posted here and it actually increased the file size for some reason.

  20. taloytoy2000 April 12, 2023

    This is absolutely amazing! Teachers helping teachers. I'll start digging for some old but gold resources. Cheers everyone!

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