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Improving your websites performance

February 23rd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments
! This post is pretty old.

I recently switched hosting for my websites, and with that I of course made all those little changes again to fine tune my performance. This seemed like nice enough info to share with you. Most of the points are already widely known, but it never hurts to have them listed again.

First up in the list is gzip compression of text documents. It saves both time and preconscious bandwidth. For this you will need to enable a apache module that’s probably already available to you. mod_deflate

Depending on your distro/installation you can either enable this by adding it to your apache config, or by using the following command.

a2enmod deflate

After having enabled this module you should check its configuration. The configuration should either be in your main apache2 conf file, or in a file that gets included. It should look something like this.

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml

Now the default is nice, but there are more files that are only text like CSS files and javascript files. So we edit that line to read the following.

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml text/css application/javascript

Now all files with those mime types will be compressed, saving you precious bandwidth and transfer time.

Another tweak I made is the enabling of mod_expires. Add it just like you added mod_deflate. After adding this mod you should hunt around for default configuration options that will probably include “ExpiresDefault”. My ubuntu based installation didn’t have this, so I added it myself. You can just add this in the server configuration file if you want. Personally I created a /etc/apache2/conf.d/expires file, because that’s how my setup works.

ExpiresActive on
ExpiresDefault "now plus 1 months"
ExpiresByType text/html "now plus 1 days"

You will have to experiment with this to find the values that you are comfortable with, I prefer to set them pretty liberal. What this means is that the contents of the requested file will not be transferred to the client before that time has passed. Which again means less bandwidth and more speed.

In my case, all static resources like CSS, javascript and images will be cached for a month, and the document itself will be cached for a day.

There are many more performance tweaks to be made, but for now I’ll leave it at this.

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