Speed up your website!

I recently learned about a nifty tool provided by Google called Page Speed Online. You enter the URL of your web page, and it gives you suggestions about how to make your page load and display in browsers as fast as possible. (And it gives semi-detailed instructions on how to implement its recommendations, and/or links to other tools that can help.)

There is lots of irony in my posting about this here in my blog. Ever since the upgrade to MT5, my blog has loaded incredibly slowly; in fact, it's so slow to load that when I ask PSO for advice, PSO times out waiting for it to load, and thus can't give me any advice. Sigh.

But I figure the rest of y'all might get some value out of it.

Note that not all of its advice is really necessary. For example, sure, CSS spriting reduces the number of image files that need to be downloaded, but if you've only got half a dozen very small images to start with, it may not be worth your time and effort to perform that optimization.

Still, a lot of its advice is useful, and much of it is stuff that I didn't know.

There are a couple of other tools in the Page Speed family that some of you might find useful and/or interesting:

  • Page Speed browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox let you analyze a page after loading it. I haven't tried these yet, but they look useful, and might address my blog-is-too-slow-to-load issue.
  • If you want to write software tools to examine multiple pages, the brand-new and very simple Page Speed Online API might be of use. It lets you use a UNIX/Linux command line, or JavaScript, or other programmatic means, to send PSO a URL and get back information about what can be done to speed up a page. (This is how I found out about Page Speed—I was helping with the documentation for the API in preparation for the I/O developer conference last week.)
  • If you're a webmaster with full control over an Apache server, you might be interested in mod_pagespeed, an Apache 2.x module that does all sorts of things to improve web-server performance.

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