Check GZIP Compression

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The internet today has become a huge vibrant lifeline for social media, e-commerce, entertainment, games, information, education and so many other applications. From where to buy shoes to watching a favorite movie has become a part of the internet world. People want the websites they are visiting to respond fast, delays are intolerable. Any website that has a slow and time-consuming response gets discarded. It is where file compression plays such a vital role. The latest and most popularly used form of file compression popularly used is gzipped compression on the internet.

File compression allows files from the host servers to the browsers to be loaded faster because they are smaller in size. Most modern day browsers are capable of decompressing files and displaying them to users. Gzip compression is beneficial where the large volume of data has to be transmitted and stored. As we all know compressed files take up less space on drives, therefore, require less bandwidth during transmission and save time.

A movie file or an interactive game can be quite large and take up Gigabytes of storage and takes a lot of time in transferring. Everyone who has been using the internet for a few years now, remembers watching a movie and seeing the ‘buffering’ message appearing. It was quite frustrating for viewers. Now with browsers having the capability of decompressing files, videos can be watched in real time. Yahoo and Google have gzipped capability. Therefore gzip compression has become the modern standard for file transfers on the internet.

Website data on host servers used to be stored in ‘raw’ form and used to be transmitted as it was. The receiving browsers displayed it to users as received. It required more bandwidth in file transfers which meant more time consumed, plus additional costs.

It is a typical scenario of how file transfers work. A requesting browser opens a website and requests an individual file from the host server. The host server responds ‘yes I have the file it's 100MB, am sending it to you’. The file transfer starts. Now if the same request is processed and it’s a compressed file, the host server would respond ‘yes I have the file it's 10MB, am sending to you’. You can see the transfer would be faster.

But the tricky part is that when the browser sends a header to the host server that it accepts compressed content and the host responds that the content is compressed. A fast transfer takes place.

When the browser sends the header asking if it accepts compressed file and the host does not respond it means the content is not compressed and will be sent in the old fashioned way. Gzip is the standard compression used for file transfers between browsers and host servers today.

Website masters and SEOs have no control over the visitors’ browsers visiting the site. However, they can control how the host server on which their website is residing serves the files to the requesting browsers.

Different web servers have different configurations. If a site master wants to enable gzip compression, he or she must do it on the hosting server. The most common method to enable compression is via.htaccess, Apache, Nginx and Litespeed web servers. These are the most used web servers, and .htaccess is the standard code used to control website’s features on the host servers.

.htaccess is a configuration file that all SEOs and to a large extent web masters are familiar with. You must know how to code .htaccess which is the configuration file that controls your website’s behavior on the host to utilize gzip compression. You will need to add this code to the website’s .htaccess file:

< ifModule mod_gzip.c >

mod_gzip_on Yes

mod_gzip_dechunk Yes

mod_gzip_item_include file .(html?|txt|css|js|php|pl)$

mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-javascript.*

mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*

mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.*

< /ifModule >

As .htaccess is the most common file that SEO and webmasters use to control their website on the hosting servers, that’s why the gzip enabling code has been shown over here.

Save the file and check your site. You can check if the compression is working by visiting searchenginereports.net and scrolling down the ‘Free SEO Tools’ till you come across Check gzip compression tool. Enter the URL of your website and hit submit. The results returned will tell you if your website pages are compressed or not.

You can use other tools on the internet to enable compression on the WordPress site, enable gzip compression Apache, or enable gzip in CPanel.

The tools you use for gzip compression depends on which code has your website been developed in and the host server on which it is residing and operating.

There are instructions and codes available on websites to enable compression on Apache, NGINX and Litespeed web servers. You can also contact your host service provider and ask them that you want to enable gzip on your web pages. They should provide help to you.

Compressing your website HTML or CSS files will typically save fifty to seventy percent of space. It translates into faster transfer time and less bandwidth requirement. Also, most web server service providers offer hosting service packages. Your service provider may be giving you 200GB space. If you were to implement gzip, you could pack more pages into the space allocated to you.

Since gzip has become the file compression standard on the internet, it would be sensible to use it. Your visitors won’t be complaining about slow speeds. The fact that all website masters and managers must keep in mind is that access to sites is no longer limited to desktops and laptops. Today’s user will be using tablets and smartphones to access sites.

A large number of social media users send URL links over social media, and these are viewed from multiple instruments. The browsers on smartphones and tablets are gzip enabled.