Faster websites for free - thanks Google!
Thursday, 04 November 2010

Google has just made us all a present of an Apache module that auto-optimises web pages - and its open source. It's all part of their effort to make the web go faster.

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Google just keeps on giving. It has now released as open source an Apache module called mod_pagespeed that applies optimization techniques to the HTML, Javascript, CSS and images. Previously Google gave us Page Speed, a tool to analyse and suggest optimisations, now mod_pagespeed cuts out the middleman and just gets on with the job of applying the changes.

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Google claims that the new module can halve page load times in the worst or best case depending on your point of view. A 2x speedup is something not to be ignored and certainly not when it's free and open source.

You can see a demo in the video below:

 

      

 

It is also claimed that mod_pagespeed is particularly good at making changes to CMS generated pages so optimising the system without the need for any changes to the CMS. It recompresses and rescales images on the fly when its HTML context changes. It also extends the cache lifetime of images to a year but magically still allowing immediate updates.It also does a lot of other things like combining multiple CSS files into one, inlines small CSS files, inlines small Javascript files, minifies CSS and Javascript.

If you have administrator access to your web server then adding a new Apache module is fairly easy. If you don't then you have to wait until your hosting service gets around to doing it. At the moment Google reports that it is working with hosting service Go Daddy to add mod_pagespeed to its 8.5 million hosted sites.

This is part of Google's "Make the Web Faster" initiative and if we all use mod_pagespeed - they probably have.

 

Download and installation instructions from mod_pagespeed

 

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