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I'm looking at some methods to browse the web, in situations where bandwidth is scarce (such as, flaky Wi-Fi connection, or mobile phone Internet provider who overcharges the bandwidth).

One thing that would save a lot of bandwidth is not downloading images while browsing. This approach has two main drawbacks

  1. Sometimes a site's layout depends on images.
  2. There are some images you wish to see (thus disabling images downloading through Firefox settings is not quite convenient).

I'm therefore looking for a method that would allow me to

  1. Use some heuristic to find out which images are related to the website layout and allow them to be downloaded.
  2. Select a particular image from a website, download and display it.

Maybe there's a Firefox extension for that?

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Opera has a setting to only display images in it's cache. AFAIK you can click on the image placeholders and select download now. I'm not certain since I've only ever used this mode accidentally. That meets your #2 requirement. Other than an ad filter I don't know anything that partially meets #1. – Dan Neely Mar 15 '10 at 15:32
Good websites say the dimensions in the html so that even if an image can't be found the space is left for it. I'm in Opera now, I also recommend that. – tobylane Feb 11 '11 at 11:20
@tobylane, the thing is, I want to see bad websites as well ;-). Except, many depends on small image buttons (think SO flag) which can't really be replaced by text, rounded cube which is created by image, which looks really bad when not displayed, etc. – Elazar Leibovich Feb 11 '11 at 13:22

The Opera browser has a feature called Opera Turbo uses Opera's proxy servers they use for their mobile browser on your desktop/laptop browser. It should dramatically reduce the downloads for the websites you visit.

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I don't see how proxy servers would decrease bandwidth usage. It might increase speed, but I'll have to download everything from Opera's cache, no? Except, proxy is not what I had in mind. I'm checking out new sites all the time. The reason for the tag proxy is for solutions like squidproxy or privoxy that would not download big images using some heuristic. – Elazar Leibovich Jan 25 '10 at 21:58
@Elazar Leibovich - Opera's Turbo mode is a bandwidth compression technology, that's where the savings come from. +1 – Molly7244 Jan 25 '10 at 22:04
@Molly, that is, assuming the original gzipped content is not compressed enough. I'm really not sure it makes such a big difference if the original web server is compressing correctly. Anyhow, NOT downloading this 300K JPEG image, would save me a lot more bandwidth than downloading it compressed to 150K (which is highly exaggrated, as images are already compressed). – Elazar Leibovich Jan 25 '10 at 22:12
@Elazar Leibovich - well, every little helps, as they say :) sure you can run some tests yourself, Turbo mode also works for the portable version (Opera USB). – Molly7244 Jan 25 '10 at 22:21
@Elazar Leibovich One of the things it does is to reencode images at lower quality settings to reduce their size. While it won't help with all binary types it will speed the loading of jpeg heavy sites. I don't know if it attempts to downsample streaming video as well; I suspect that might be too CPU intensive to do as a free, realtime, service. – Dan Neely Mar 15 '10 at 15:29

On my mobile computers where I'm depending on a 3G connection capped at 10 GB traffic, I'm running AdMuncher:

Blocks ads in all browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, Safari, Flock, Netscape, Maxthon and Avant Browser.

Blocks rich media advertising like video ads, interstitial ads and floating ads.

Speeds up page loading and saves bandwidth, thanks to the missing ads and pop up windows.

And of course I'm using Opera for all the good reasons (as suggested by heavyd).


If you don't mind a bit of donkey work, have a look at Proxomitron, a highly configurable web filter. And here you can download some well maintained and up-to-date configuration files that will help you get started.

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That's a good start! better than privoxy? But it focuses on ads, I want ALL images to disappear except of the few I do want. – Elazar Leibovich Jan 25 '10 at 22:10
@Elazar Leibovich - updated my post. – Molly7244 Jan 25 '10 at 22:26

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