Enable gzip compression

Overview

Reduce the size of files sent from your server to increase the speed to which they are transferred to the browser.
  • Reduce sizes of pages by up to 70%
  • Increase page speed
  • Cost-benefit ratio: high
  • Access needed to the .htaccess files or server administration files

What is gzip compression?

When a user hits your website a call is made to your server to deliver the requested files.
The bigger these files are the longer it's going to take for them to get to your browser and appear on the screen.
Gzip compresses your webpages and style sheets before sending them over to the browser. This drastically reduces transfer time since the files are much smaller.
In terms of cost versus benefit, gzip compression should be near the top of your page speed optimizations if you don't have it setup already.

How does it work?

Gzip is actually a fairly simple idea that is extremely powerful when put to good use. Gzip locates similar strings within a text file and replaces those strings temporarily to make the overall file size smaller.
The reason gzip works so well in a web environment is because CSS files and HTML files use a lot of repeated text and have loads of whitespace. Since gzip compresses common strings, this can reduce the size of pages and style sheets by up to 70%!
Gzip has to be enabled on your webserver which is relatively straight forward.
When a browser visits a webserver it checks to see if the server has gzip enabled and requests the webpage. If it's enabled it receives the gzip file which is significantly smaller and if it isn't, it still receives the page, only the uncompressed version which is much larger.

Why is it important?

The main reason it is important is because it reduces the time it takes for a website to transfer the page files and style sheets which ultimately reduces the load time of your website.

How to enable

There are different methods of setting up gzip compression depending on whether or not you've got an IIS or Apache server (or something else entirely).

For IIS

If your server is IIS, follow these instructions in the Microsoft TechNet document to enable compression.

For Apache

You will need to add the following lines to your .htaccess file:
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
  # Compress HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Text, XML and fonts
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

  # Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)
  BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
  BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
  BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
  Header append Vary User-Agent
</IfModule>
After you've saved your .htaccess file, 

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