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Apache Optimized Finally! (Firebug, YSlow)

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I didn’t realize I hadn’t added the mod_expires.c and mod_deflate.c items to my httpd.conf file in Apache yet– Andre clued me in!

Andre noticed my blog was taking a while to load, even when the browser cache should have significantly dented the page weight. He used Firebug and Yahoo’s YSlow to make a diagnosis and told me to do the same– this page ended up taking a whopping 17 seconds to load which is … very … sad. After I added these lines to my httpd.conf file, things were looking better (roughly 1.5 seconds — not perfect, but it’s far better).

The mod_expires.c chunk specifies that files displayed on a webpage ought to live in the browser cache. The caching information is sent as part of the file header by Apache to the client browser. Without this, files were apparently expiring instantly meaning that each refresh required downloading every single file again including including the images comprising this theme’s background.

The mod_deflate.c chunk specifies that file data should be gzipped before transmitting– this is again handled by Apache. The trade off between compressing a few text files (even dynamically generated ones) versus sending uncompressed text is more than fair.

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
    FileETag MTime Size
    ExpiresActive On
    ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 2 months"
    ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 2 months"
    ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 2 months"
    ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 2 months"
    ExpiresByType application/js "access plus 2 months"
    ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 2 months"
    ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 2 months"

<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
    # these are known to be safe with MSIE 6
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml

    # everything else may cause problems with MSIE 6
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/ecmascript
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml

I’ve also removed the custom truetype font files specified in the CSS… they aren’t handled correctly for whatever reason– even after I added ‘font/ttf’ entries to the mod_expires.c chunk above. Finally, I tried completely removing background images from the site and restoring them again– it doesn’t make things any faster after images have been cached (correctly, finally).

I am very happy.

Eddie Ma

December 24th, 2009 at 5:19 pm