Everyone wants a faster website. A quick and easy way to speed up your site is using Gzip, or HTTP, compression. This simple change alters the way connecting servers access your site, and can take whole seconds off your load speed. Follow our simple guide to get started!
Gzip is a form of data compression that delivers the website files in zipped format. Although the connecting server has to unzip the files in order to display the website, the reduced delivery time transferring smaller files still results in a faster loading site. This isn’t a new technology—it’s been used in various formats since 1992. However most DIY websites still don’t use it. Every modern browser supports gzip, meaning a small change will put your site ahead of the competition.
Changing the site compression might sound technical, but it doesn’t have to be. First check if your site runs gzip already. You can do this with a simple website checker tool. If yours doesn’t but it uses a WordPress CMS, a plugin is all you need. W3 Total Cache is a free WordPress plugin that enables gzip compression. Simply select the “use HTTP compression” box in the browser settings.
For other sites, inserting a couple of lines of code in your .htaccess file will do the trick. While it’s a fairly simple process, your .htaccess file is critical to your website so only make changes if you’re confident you know what you’re doing. Alternatively, have your host or an expert set it up for you.
increasing your website’s load speed is the best way of improving its performance across the board. Ideally a site will load so quickly there’s no impression of having to wait for it. According to Google, anything slower than 2 seconds is a problem. They aim for half a second. Reaching those sorts of speeds with a multi-page site on shared hosting (i.e. most small business and personal websites) is difficult. Gzip compression is one way of making a big difference and getting your site closer to the 2-second mark. Check your site’s speed using a checker such as webpagetest.org.
In the race to improve load speeds, looking behind the scenes at how your site is delivered can make all the difference. Using gzip compression can put your site ahead of the pack.
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