Article updated on October 04, 2009

I have had some bad thoughts about my web host, because this site has been so slow. I have done some optimization to this site, I thought I´d share my new insights.

Website optimization tools

I downloaded and installed Firebug and Page Speed which both are firefox add-ons. Page Speed requires Firebug.

What is Page Speed?

Page Speed performs several tests on a site's web server configuration and front-end code. These tests are based on a set of best practices known to enhance web page performance. Webmasters who run Page Speed on their pages get a set of scores for each page, as well as helpful suggestions on how to improve its performance.

Page speed gave me some high priority warnings.

Enable Gzip compression
Gzip is not enabled. After wordpress version 2.5 gzip is not enabled by default. You can enable Gzip editing apache web server configuration files or .htaccess in root directory. That didnt seem to work so I enabled Gzip compression in one of my wordpress plugins. WordPress plugin Gzip Output does the trick too.

Before enabling gzip the page size would be around 150 Kb. Now it is around 30 Kb. Gzip is an effective way to save bandwidth and speed up your site.

Read more about Google best practices about enable Gzip compression

Leverage browser cache
This seems to be a no-brainer but I hadn´t configured this one either.

Setting an expiry date or a maximum age in the HTTP headers for static resources allows the browser to load previously downloaded resources from local disk rather than over the network.

Interesting article about leverage browser cache:
Performance Research, Part 2: Browser Cache Usage – Exposed!

Read more about Google best practices about Leverage browser cache

Optimize picture sizes
Page speed recommended me to optimize picture sizes. Page speed also shrunk the pictures and saved them in a temp directory.

Read more about Google best practices about Optimize picture sizes

The optimization result
There are more things to optimize but the above changes did the most impact. I have decreased page loading time from 10 - 20 seconds to 1 - 2 seconds. So far pages/visit have increased. No more bad thoughts about my web host.