Ever wanted to make your webpages load faster? With Google Page Speed, you can! Page Speed automatically analyzes your webpage and gives suggestion on how to improve and optimize their loading times. It is available as a Firefox and Firebug Add-on, very helpful for web developers who want to decrease their site’s loading time and increase their profits.
But this time, Google made it much more easier to speed up the loading of your websites by releasing Page Speed as an Apache module. Since only a handful of developers who uses the Firefox extensions follow the recommendation of the add-on, the technology giant made the process of boosting the page loading automatic from within Apache Web Server itself. Released as Google Page Speed Apache Module or simply mod_pagespeed, this saves time and effort for those web developers who needs the optimization but lacks the time and resources required to speed up their websites. According to Google, they’ve seen pages load times reduced up to 50% which makes mod_pagespeed decreases page loading 2x faster than a bare web server.
Also according to the Google Code Blog Article, the following are simple page optimizations that are quite a pain to do manually, but that mod_pagespeed excels at:
- 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 video above features a comparison of loading times of the Google AdSense Blog with and without mod_pagespeed. Side by side, we can see an obvious difference on loading times, although personally, I can consider the difference on this particular page not that significant. But maybe it can boast a few second advantage over other websites that can really boost page loading times.
The mentioned Apache module is very useful for developers who have full control over their web servers. But I don’t think this service can be offered to other web hosting providers immediately, especially to those webmasters who are on shared web hosting. This shows a significant disadvantage of the Apache module over the manual optimization of webpages using the Firefox add-on. Most shared hosting providers won’t install this module unless a large hype and demand for this specific module is present.
Personally, I think this automatic page optimization is very useful and is a must for every web server out there. But I don’t think developers should fully rely and depend on this service. A good knowledge on how to manually optimize a website, it’s theories and underlying process is the most important thing a developer should know. With this knowledge complemented by page optimization softwares would bear the best result anytime.