Developing Your Site for Performance

Learn how to improve the performance of your Web applications with affordable, easy-to-implement solutions including source code optimization, expiration-based cache control, and HTTP compression.

Developing Your Site for Performance
Principles and Techniques of Cost-Effective Web Site Acceleration
By Thomas A. Powell and Joe Lima

This three-part article outlines a common sense, cost-effective approach to Web site acceleration according to the two simple laws of Web performance:

  1. Send as little data as possible
  2. Send it as infrequently as possible

If used properly, these basic principles should result in:

  • Faster Web page loads
  • Reduction of server usage
  • Improved bandwidth utilization

All of these techniques should not only improve user satisfaction with a site or Web-based application, but also save money on site delivery costs. The principles presented in this article will not only be applied to developer-accessible Web page source including (X)HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but will also address Web server configuration and modifications. Some suggestions may touch on structural site changes or modification to server-side programming environments, but the primary focus will be on relatively easy changes that can be made to existing sites.

The techniques derived from the two aforementioned principles fall into three major categories:

  1. Client-side code optimization
  2. Optimal cache control
  3. HTTP compression and other server-side modifications

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