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13th January 2010 |  Written by Dave Ashworth

Tips To Improve Your Page Load Speed

With page load speed becoming a ranking factor in 2010, most of my tasks so far in January have been to look at our websites, see how they perform and make them faster.

Following on from my post toward the end of last year where I recommended tools to review site performance, I’ve been carrying out the tests and taking appropriate actions.

Yahoo has a list of guidelines but in some cases, although they tell you what to do, they don’t tell you how to do it:

http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html

Having carried out some research of my own and successfully speeded up a number of our sites, the following are a few tips that will help you to speed up your site based on common issues highlighted by both tools:

Compress Components with GZIP

To compress pages across your site, simply add the following line into your .htaccess file:

php_value output_handler ob_gzhandler

** Update

Whilst the above command will work, the following code will sort out GZip Cimpression and the ET tags configuration issues, in fact, it pretty  much sorts everything bar using a content delivery network, which is probably only suitable for the biggest of sites on the internet:

SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
Header unset ETag
FileETag None

Leverage Browser Caching

Cache your images, downloads and general site assets by adding the following line to your .htaccess file:

<FilesMatch “\.(ico|pdf|flv|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|js|css|swf)$”>
Header set Cache-Control “max-age=2419200, public”
</FilesMatch>

Minify Javascript

Minify basically means strip out white space from your files, making them totally unreadable but quicker to download.  My advice would be to create a new file, call it javascript-min.js (or something similar to identify it as minified), minify your existing file and paste into the new version.  Each time you need to edit it, edit the original and minify again.  This website will do that for you:

http://jscompress.com/

Minify CSS

Works the same way as the Javascript minifier, though this example will not do it for you – you need to take the code and create your own script:

http://www.lateralcode.com/css-minifer/

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