Google offers to accelerate Web servers with new software

Google's new PageSpeed module can cut bandwidth needs by 37 percent

Web server administrators who wish to trim bandwidth costs and hasten the delivery of their Web pages should take a look at a newly updated free module from Google designed to automate a number of techniques used to compress content.

Simply installing the module, called PageSpeed, could cut bandwidth usage by a significant amount, noted Mano Marks, a member of the Google developer platform team, who posted a blog item announcing the module update Thursday.

PageSpeed, designed to analyze and optimize Website performance, works with both the Apache and Nginx Web server software. Google estimates that using a new feature of PageSpeed called "Optimizing For Bandwidth" could reduce bandwidth needed to convey a large Web site by about 37 percent.

Marks noted there are already a number of techniques commonly used to conserve bandwidth, such as compressing JavaScript scripts and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) before they are sent out, or sizing images to a more appropriate resolution for a browser.

Such techniques can take work to automate though, and make debugging more difficult should something go awry.

PageSpeed does not require any additional work to run, once installed in the Web server software.

The technology is based on software that Google built for its Chrome browser, which the company found cut bandwidth usage by 50 percent. The software, however, only works for Chrome, and users must opt-in to use the technology. The software was also limited by its inability to work with traffic secured by Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption.

PageSpeed, in contrast, can work with any browser, and can work in both HTTP and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer) mode. The software compresses and transcodes images in place, and minimizes JavaScript and CSS automatically.

PageSpeed has a number of additional techniques to further speed delivery of Web pages, such as deferring delivery of JavaScript or images until they are required. These advanced optimization techniques can be run by enabling them in the PageSpeed configuration file.

At this point, PageSpeed only works on Apache and Nginx, which collectively run about 57 percent of all the Web servers on the Internet, according to the most recent monthly Web survey from Netcraft.

Those using other Web servers, such as Microsoft's Internet Information Services or the Apache Traffic Server, can still use PageSpeed by using Apache or Nginx as a proxy server. The Google development team is currently porting the module to these additional server software packages.

Bandwidth optimization has been a topic of heightened interest in the past few years, because more users are accessing the Web through their portable telephones, which tend to be more limited in the amount of bandwidth they can access, and often come with caps on how much data they can download.

A working group within the World Wide Web Consortium, for instance, is working on a new HTML element, called Picture, that would allow a browser to specify the best image to download from a range of copies of that image offered in various sizes and resolutions. In settings with limited bandwidth, a browser can download a smaller image with a lower resolution.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglesoftwareWeb servers

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?