HTTP Performance Tuning

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When we talk about the HTTP performance of a web site or a web page mostly we regard to the speed the content delivered. If we summarize all the parameters of the web performance we can stick to these 3 golden rules in order to gain high performance.

  • Reduce the number of HTTP calls (Reduce the number of requests to the server)
  • Reduce the size of the content in the requests
  • Send information infrequently

These are some common practices to boost up HTTP performance.

HTTP Compression – Most of the web servers support this option. HTTP compression can be static or dynamic. In the static HTTP compression web server saves the compressed version of the content files such as CSS and Javascript. In the Dynamic compression the response HTML is compressed and sent to the client. Dynamic compression works well but eats up more CPU in your web server. Mostly static compression is configured in the web servers by default

Minification – This is a well known method for the Javascript developers. We can do minification to CSS files as well. We reduce the size of the files by removing comments, white spaces, shrinking variable names and ect. There’re plenty of Javascript minification tools available online. jQuery.min is the best example for this type.

Content Expiration – This is the cache in the browser. Browsers check for the new versions of the files and they download the files only when a new version is available. This is good since it reduces the size of the calls to the server, but if you have many small files and the browser goes on checking all of them it will be a performance hit. So better include your files in the relevant folders and set the expiration to the folders.

Content Delivery Networks – CDNs are well known and highly used by many. Geographically distributed so this reduces the travel time of data. CDNs are mostly used to deliver the static content.

Image Optimization – By optimizing the images we can reduce the size of the requests. JPEG and PNG are the heavily used file formats in the web. There are plenty of image optimization tools available. JPEG Tran for the JPEG images and PNG Crush for the PNG images are widely used and light weight.