Please go donate right now to gravatar.com — they host a globally available avatar picture for free and their bandwidth / processing consumption has led to their host shutting them down.
Posted 10 hours, 8 minutes ago by Tom Werner
Ok, some serious you know what has hit the you know which. Dreamhost shut down gravatar.com today without notice and kindly told me that I was monopolizing their server’s entire processor. I at least got them to reenable the site with the avatar.php serving a single one sized image, which has totally screwed up my day and if you’re reading this, then its probably screwed up yours too. I’m going to try to do some fancy pants caching and optimizing of the avatar serving script to reduce resource utilization and see if they find that acceptable. If that doesn’t work then I guess I’ll have to swing for a dedicated server, the cheapest of which I can find goes for $300/half year, which is more than I%u2019d really like to spend. If anyone out there knows where I can get ahold of a cheap dedicated server with at least 200GB of bandwidth per month, or has some sweet hookups, drop me a line!
In the meantime, since all gravatars (or rather, THE gravatar) are being served at 80px regardless of requested size, you would be well served to specify the correct width and height for your avatars in either your HTML or CSS (which is a good technique to use anyway).
Also, if you have any sage advice on optimizing PHP/MySQL code, I’m all ears. And if you’ve thought up a way for gravatar.com to earn money to pay for hosting, I hear that email is a good way of disseminating knowledge (email@example.com).
Happy holidays and may gravatars be back soon!
Go donate now. I did, and leave a comment for them if you have any ideas for how they can continue to exist. 🙂