Client side bandwidth optimisation
1 How to browse faster!
How fast you can browse depends on many factors: Some of those are under your own control, others are controlled by the network you are using (and you can't change this much, unless you're the network operator). (Bandwidth optimisation depends on various factors (the 'bandwidth management chain'), including server and client-side optimisation.)
So what changes can you make?
2 Top Tips
For your phone. If you only have GPRS by phone, you should install Gmail Application for Mobile, and Opera Mini (see Mobile for details). It's possible that you'll be able to access the internet much faster like this, compared to using the GPRS connectivity via your laptop. The reason for this is that Gmail for Mobile and Opera Mini are optimised for slow connections, while your desktop browser isn't. So install Gmail for Mobile and Opera Mini on your phone.
On the desktop. The best tip I have is to download Opera 10. It has a Turbo mode for web-browsing that optimised pages (on an opera server) before they are loaded by the browser, and it really does make browsing over GPRS much easier. Also, Opera has a low bandwidth email mode, I haven't tried this, but it's worth looking at. Also see Opera Turbo. You can also use Opera Link to synchronise your bookmarks and browser notes between Opera Mini and Opera on your desktop, making it easier to transfer links.
3 Other browsers
So suppose you have Firefox (or another browser), but you're in a low bandwidth environment. What can you do to make web browsing faster?
- Install firefox extensions to easily turn images/css/plugins/advertising on/off. (If you have another browser, you need to find similar extensions or the relevant settings.)
- Loband bookmarklet http://www.ict4e.net/resources/loband_bookmarklet.html (The bookmarklet will work in any browser.)
During a recent trip to Zambia, I was very impressed with how easily opera worked on my Sony Ericcson W810i phone, and so I looked around for bandwidth optimisation for Opera, see Opera_mini_on_desktop.
3.1 Image loading (Opera 9 and Firefox)
Most browsers have got settings in the preferences for image loading. That's a good thing, but it's usually too many clicks away to be switched on and off quickly. So, commendably Opera 9 also has a button in the bottom bar, to turn images on and off very quickly.
You can get a similar button for firefox with the 'images like opera' add-on: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1672 In the experimental options tab, there is also a flash blocking option.
Flash can be heavy. In Firefox you can block flash http://flashblock.mozdev.org/