Talking tech since 2003

Recently, Google announced they were open sourcing one of their internal tools called Page Speed.  Page Speed can be used in conjunction with the Firefox plugin Firebug (install Firebug then install Page Speed).  The tool will analyze any web page and provide useful information and feedback that you can use to help improve the pages load time.  The recommendations include how to optimize images, CSS, and javascripts which will all help in decreasing the load time.  Of course, it’s mostly a webmasters tool as only someone with access to the files on web server can make the appropriate edits, however, that being said you can still analyze any page you want.

The small excerpt from the blog post below emphasizes how important page load times are on the Internet.

At Google, we focus constantly on speed; we believe that making our websites load and display faster improves the user’s experience and helps them become more productive.

I cannot agree more. I always strive to decrease the load time on my website with the hope it will make my user’s experience a better and more productive one. Everyone loves instant gratification – no one likes to wait!  If your site is slow, you’re in trouble.  It is almost a guarantee you will lose a lot of traffic if your site is slow or just unavailable.  Not to mention if your site is down a lot it could really hurt your Google rankings.

In recent efforts to decrease the load time on my site I have installed nginx (Pronounced Engine X) on my server to serve up all of the static files on the server. In conjunction with nginx I have Apache running to serve up all of the dynamic content. By doing this it takes a load off Apache and therefore increases performance and decreases load times.

If you are just starting a website you may want to consider using a sub domain such as for all of your images and other static files. That method alone will help speed things up, however, if you can use the setup I talked about above along with the sub domain it would be even better.  I will most likely make a post at a later date which includes my configuration file for nginx and how it works with Apache.

It also helps to have decent server hardware.  This site is currently running on a AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+, 2GB DDR2 RAM, 2x 400GB SATA II HDD, and 1GB NIC.  I have just purchased a new server though which I will be moving everything to in the next week or so.

The new servers specs:
Intel® Core™ i7-920 Quadcore incl. Hyper-Threading Technology
Hard discs 2 x 750 GB SATA-II HDD (Software-RAID 1)
NIC 1 GBit OnBoard

Hopefully between my new configuration and new server the page load times will decrease drastically. I have definitely noticed a difference already (especially on the forums).

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