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GZ Compression of Web Pages

Well I've been designing websites for over 10 years and I must confess that this nifty little feature had passed me by.

I was analysing my site using Google's webmaster tools and one of its recommendations was that I use GZ compression on my web pages to speed up download times.

Now I already know what GZ compression is. It is just like a ZIP file except the extension is.gz and the compression algorithm is open source. What I didn't know was that it could be used on a normal web server!

So a little more investigation revealed the fact that as I write my sites in PHP, all that is needed is one simple line of code:

ob_start("ob_gzhandler");

If I put that right at the top of all my pages they are automatically compressed by the server reducing page size by an average of 75%.

I shouldn't get too excited about this as when you add images the overall percentage reduction is quite minimal. But it does mean that your pages render very quickly and it also helps with Search Engine Optimisation.

Search Engine Optimisation is not about doing one big task. It's about doing 500 small tasks. This is one of those 500 tasks and as it is so simple, I intend to make it an integral part of AB Publish's websites.

So if you opt to create your website using AB Publish, you can rest assured that you have ticked off one of your many tasks to optimise your site for the search engines!

Mon 20 December 2010 10:10:57

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