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Improve Application Loading Time with Real-time HTTP Compression and Cache

Author: Gregory Koldman Reference Number: AA-00411 Views: 22671 Last Updated: 01/06/2012 11:48 AM 0 Rating/ Voters

Give your Apache a Performance Boost

You can improve the performance of the popular Web Server, Apache, by integrating mod_cache and Deflate modules. The first enables faster web page access whereas the second increases download speeds.

Caching of web pages is regularly done to speed up access. Let's suppose you have an Apache web server deployed locally. By deploying mod_cache you can get the server to regularly update the contents of frequently visited sites. This way the visitor has access to the latest version of a page as soon as he visits it and Apache is spared the need to check for it real time. This saves a lot of bandwidth for enterprises. Apache 2.x also provides the option of integrating 'deflate' module, that allows one to improve the downloading speed by compressing the downloaded packets.

What is HTTP Compression?

HTTP stands for "Hyper Text Transfer Protocol". This protocol allows text and binary data to be sent between client browser and web server. Text data is mostly sent in an uncompressed format. HTTP compression allows this text data to be compressed using one of the two HTTP compression methods that we will discuss later. Compressed data takes much less space and saves important bandwidth, especially for users accessing the web application over dial-up connections. HTTP compression can save as much as 70%-80% bandwidth and at the same time, for the end-user, the web application loads much faster. For example, HTTP compression makes 2.2 MB admin part of KnowledgeBase Manager Pro appear as 405 KB to the user.

You should use mod_cache with mod_mem_cache  in combination with mod_deflate for best performance.

mod_deflate configuration that will compress everything (JS, CSS, HTML etc.) except images
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
    SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
    SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.(?:gif|jpe?g|png)$ \
        no-gzip dont-vary
    SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \
        \.(?:exe|t?gz|zip|bz2|sit|rar)$ \
        no-gzip dont-vary
    SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.pdf$ no-gzip dont-vary
    BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
    BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
    BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html