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Google releases mod_speed for Apache

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Thursday November 4, 2010 )

Google continues to shape the web with it’s latest contribution to the online community, an Apache module called mod_speed. As you may have guessed mod_speed helps to speed up web site performance; this time at the server level.

Google likes fast sites – in fact when push comes to shove and all other things being equal, it can make the difference between one site ranking over another.

There’s many things a web developer can do to speed up page load times, such as optimizing images, but the reality is that many don’t – so Google to the rescue.

Google has announced the release of a module for Apache called mod_pagespeed that can perform 15 real time speed optimizations including optimizing caching. The company says they’ve seen mod_pagespeed reduce page load times by up to 50% on average across sites the module has been tested on.

Note that if you’re hosted on a shared hosting account, you won’t be able to install the module – you’ll need to hassle your web host to make it available. One of the world’s biggest hosting services, GoDaddy, is already working with Google to deploy it across its eleventy billion servers (or some incredible number like that).

This contribution from Google isn’t just a warm and fuzzy gift to the online community – Google’s spider, googlebot, is a busy little critter and the faster a page is retrieved, the faster it can be spidered and the faster it can move onto other pages and sites.

For web hosts, the benefits could be huge in relation to decreased server load.

However, here’s my prediction based on what I’ve seen in the shift from dialup to broadband Internet access.

Developers and graphic designers will get even lazier. Remember how slow things were on dialup? Noticed how many sites are still very slow to load even on a broadband connection? That is often because as bandwidth has increased, so has the tendency to pile more gadgets on pages and to use heavier graphics.

However, for those who do appreciate that page loading speed may give them an edge in rankings and in decreasing visitor bounce levels, I expect the mod_speed module will be greatly appreciated and for the right reason.

You can learn more about Google’s mod_speed module for Apache here.

Don’t make Google and your web host do all the heavy work though – pick up some simple page speed optimization tips.


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