In its ever increasing aspirations for need for speed, Google today announced a mod for Apache web server that boosts Server’s speed by many folds.
Recently they announced that Google now considers webpage’s speed while Ranking it among the top search results and released a tool that speedup webapps. The reason is obvious, in future, people will have Gigabit Internet connections and we would need faster servers to serve them optimally. So if your page is equally relevant (and backlinked) as others, but slower, its going to appear after your competitor’s.
The mod_pagespeed automates many of Google’s Page Speed optimization recommendations. To start using it, you’ll probably need root access to install this on your server, which makes it irrelevant for shared hosting, but Google is working with GoDaddy to default this to all their shared hosting customers. However, if you are not on GoDaddy and using one of the other popular hostings: HostGator, DreamHost, etc, you will get it sooner or later.
In addition to hosting providers, Google is working with popular CDN provider Contendo to bring mod_pagespeed to its service.
For Bloggers: If you own a self hosted WordPress blog and wish to implement some of these fixes without root access, you can try the W3 Total Cache plugin. This plugin doesn’t even do half of what Google provides, but its still better than nothing.
So the question comes, if all these optimizations are already written in Google’s Page speed, why do we need a mod for it. Answer is “simplicity”, not all of the recommendations are easy to implement. A few that are a particularly painful that mod_pagespeed should automate are:
- Making changes to the pages built by the Content Management Systems (CMS) with no need to make changes to the CMS itself,
- Recompressing an image when its HTML context changes to serve only the bytes required (typically tedious to optimize manually), and
- Extending the cache lifetime of the logo and images of your website to a year, while still allowing you to update these at any time.
The current 18 filters fall into three categories. Each filter has risks associated with it:
- Extend Cache
- Outline CSS
Minimize Round Trip Times
- Combine CSS
- Inline CSS
Minimize Payload Size
- Collapse Whitespace
- Combine Heads
- Elide Attributes
- Optimize Images
- Remove Comments
- Remove Quotes
- Rewrite CSS
- Move CSS to HEAD
- Optimize Images
- Add Head
- Add Instrumentation
Its only bound to get better as Google is planning on adding more filters under the category "minimize request overhead“.
So, if you are a webmaster, there cant be a better way to speedup your website which is easy and yet powerful.