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What is GZIP Compression?

UPDATED
February 26, 2024

 

Are you fed up with looking at your screen while you wait for websites to load? With the ability to reduce the size of files like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, GZIP compression is an amazing tool that hastens the loading of web pages.

 

Caught your attention? Well, in this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about it and why it’s a must-have for a smoother, faster, and less frustrating online experience.

 

 

What Is GZIP Compression?

 

Try to picture yourself preparing your suitcase for a vacation. But, there isn’t much room, and you want to cram as many clothes as you can. What do you do then? You compact them neatly to save space by folding them.

 

Well, GZIP compression works the same way. But, instead of clothes, the tool compresses files on the internet.

 

GZIP compression is an innovative tool used to minimize the size of files that are frequently encountered on the web, like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other text-based files.

 

This is accomplished by identifying patterns and duplications in the file and replacing them with shorter representations. Basically, it gets rid of redundant data and compresses the file to a smaller, more manageable size.

 

For example, let’s say that your website contains a lot of text and that the sentence “Hello, world!” appears several times.

 

GZIP compression would detect the repetition and store the phrase only once rather than repeating the entire phrase each time. And, when that sentence shows up again, the tool would use a smart coding system to make a reference back to it. This method greatly reduces the file’s overall size without affecting its functionality.

 

gzip compression process

As the name suggests, GZIP compression is all about making file sizes smaller. (Source: Bunny.net

 

So, whenever you download a compressed file from a website, your browser receives it in that format. It then decompresses the file using the strength of GZIP compression, bringing it back to its original state. This allows websites to distribute content more efficiently, which speeds up user loading times.

 

 

What Are The Advantages Of GZIP Compression?

 

gzip compression advantages

GZIP compression can bring you one step closer to your online goals.

 

Now that you know what this amazing tool does, let’s take a look at its benefits and what it can do for you.

 

  • Lightning-fast loading times
    As mentioned earlier, the GZIP compression tool greatly reduces file sizes, which is one of its biggest benefits. Smaller files result in speedier server-to-user browser transfers, ultimately making online pages load faster.
  • Improved user experience
    In terms of user experience, website performance is crucial. Slow loading times often cause people to lose patience quickly. So, by using GZIP compression, you can make sure that your visitors can easily and quickly access your content. This raises customer satisfaction, encourages longer stays, and increases the probability that they’ll visit your website again in the future.
  • Bandwidth savings
    Your users will be happy when they find out you’re using GZIP compression as it saves some of their precious bandwidth. As you now know, the quantity of data exchanged between a web server and a user’s browser is greatly decreased when files are compressed. This reduction in data usage might be especially beneficial for users on mobile devices or those with limited data plans.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    Utilizing GZIP compression can help you improve your website’s SEO. Website speed, believe it or not, is one of the most important ranking factors. Fast-loading websites are valued more by Google which puts them at the top of the list for search engine results. And, higher search ranks lead to more visibility, organic traffic, and eventually, more potential clients or readers.
  • Reduced server load
    Compressed files take up less room on your server and are less demanding on its resources. This is especially useful if you have a high volume of website visitors or a limited server capacity. By lessening the burden on your server, you can make sure that it can handle more requests simultaneously, enhancing website speed overall and avoiding any downtime during busy hours.

 

In today’s fast-paced digital world, website performance is vital for success, so implementing GZIP compression is a no-brainer.

 

 

3 Ways To Enable GZIP Compression

 

enabling gzip compression

Enabling GZIP compression isn’t just limited to one method.

 

Adding GZIP compression to your website is like giving it a boost! Fortunately, there are 3 techniques you could try to enable this effective feature:

 

  1. Website plugins
    You’re in luck if you’re working with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal! These platforms offer a large variety of useful plugins that make it simple to enable GZIP compression. All you have to do is search their plugin directory for “GZIP compression” and select the plugin that best meets your needs.

     

    If you’re unsure what to choose, we recommend picking W3 Total Cache for WordPress, JCH Optimize for Joomla and Boost for Drupal. So, just install a plugin, activate it, and voilà! The plugin will handle the technical aspects and automatically compress your files.

  2. Web server configuration
    This method involves going to the configuration files on your server and making the necessary adjustments. For instance, if you’re using the Apache HTTP server, you can enable GZIP compression by changing the httpd.conf file there. But, remember that this approach could need more technical know-how, so it’s best to look through the server manuals or get advice from a pro.
  3. Edit the .htaccess file (advanced)
    Speaking of technical knowledge, this one is the most advanced method among what we just mentioned. If you’re comfortable with configuring your server settings, you can turn on GZIP compression manually by modifying the .htaccess file with a few lines of code. Just be sure to have a backup in case anything goes wrong!

 

Though if you’d like a shortcut (who doesn’t, right?), keep in mind that a lot of the best web hosts already have GZIP compression set by default, in which case you may not have to do anything. There are plenty of free tools to check if it’s already enabled – such as Small SEO Tools’ Check Gzip Compression.

 

No matter what approach you decide on, using GZIP compression will always result in much smaller file sizes, faster website loading, and a more seamless user experience.

 

 

Optimize Your Website With GZIP Compression

 

There you have it—the secrets of GZIP compression revealed!

 

Now that you’re aware of what GZIP compression is and how it works, you’re now armed with a powerful tool that can optimize the speed and effectiveness of your website.

 

Use it wisely – your website will be grateful to you, and your users will thank you too!