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Software to speed up websites from Google now out of beta

14 October 2012

Google Apache mod_pagespeedThe software by Google called mod_pagespeed for Apache web servers is now released for wide spread use after it came into a stable version. This is after the company spent two years and 18 beta versions of the software to increase webserver output and make browsing faster for users. The Apache mod had first been made available from late 2010 and then worked on and trailed to improve functionality and features. The mod works by looking at the files of a website such as, HTML text, CSS, JavaScript and also the images used in the pages. It then takes these files and works out the best way to reduce impact on bandwidth all without the need for manual changes. The optimizing done by mod_pagespeed include combining and to make the JavaScript and CSS files smaller in size by removing comments and empty white-space, inlining smaller scripts, and for the images it optimizes on-the-fly by removing unused meta-data from each file, resizing the images to specified dimensions, and re-encoding images to be served in the most efficient format available to the user. Static files and images are made to cache for longer on the users browser, which eliminates the need to keep downloading them over. The mod is open sourced by Google as noted on its blog, “We’re committed to working with the open-source community to continue evolving mod_pagespeed, including more, better and smarter optimizations and support for other web servers. Over 120,000 sites are already using mod_pagespeed to improve the performance of their web pages using the latest techniques and trends in optimization.” The different sets of mod filters can be turned on or off as desired with the explanation of each by Google can be found at this page.

Now that is officaily out of beta you can expect more webhosts to integrate the mod into their Apache server configurations with the likes of major hosts like GoDaddy and DreamHost already having the option for its customers. People visiting sites that are faster are likely to be pleased with more responsive pages and therefore increasing the chance of re-visits in the future. Page speed can also be important to website owners, as Google and other search engines rank those websites that load faster higher in the SERP (search engine results page), and also priority for showing ads to users of the site. Site speed can be checked with Google’s pagespeed analyzing tool at this link.

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