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Why Is HTTP Compression Important?

UPDATED
April 23, 2024

 

Speed is one of the factors that can make or break the user experience. And, because a user’s time is valuable, a web page shouldn’t take a while to load.

 

People will always choose fast-loading websites, which is why numerous efforts have been made to make websites faster, one of them being HTTP compression.

 

But what exactly is this and how can it benefit you and your website? Well, we’re here to let you know all about it.

 

 

What Is HTTP Compression?

 

For those who don’t know, there’s a lot of text in files that are needed to show content on a website, including HTML, CSS, and Javascript files. Because of the nature of these documents, there are numerous instances where you can find the same word in the text of these files. But while all of these repetitions are required for the web browser to display content correctly, they are redundant and not necessary for transmission.

 

repetitive words on java

What we mean by repetitive words, as seen in a file from Java. (Source: Java67)

 

This is where HTTP compressions come in. It prevents such files from leaving the web server with redundant information. It’s accomplished through a technique known as compression, which reduces the size of a file by deleting redundant or unneeded content.

 

There are two main types of HTTP compression:

 

  • Lossy compression
    By throwing away some of the data, lossy compression reduces the size of a file. This is achieved by locating and deleting any data that is not necessary for the file to function. You’ll also find that the two of the most popular image and audio files used on the web, JPEG and MP3, use lossy compression. However, this compression type has the disadvantage of perhaps lowering the quality of the compressed file. But the advantage of faster load times can outweigh this drawback.
  • Lossless compression
    On the other hand, we have lossless compression where you don’t have to sacrifice any data to compress a file. This works by finding patterns in the data and then replacing them with codes that are easier to remember. These codes can then be utilized to reproduce the original data.

 

lossy compression

Website compression is removing all the fluff and unnecessary content.

 

You’ll also find that there are different HTTP compression algorithms. The most notable ones are DEFLATE, GZIP, and the newest kid in town, Brotli.

 

Before Brotli, GZIP compression was the more widely used choice. But now, Brotli is preferred by more people since it delivers a 20–30% compression size decrease compared to GZIP with a similar decompression performance.

 

So, in general, users can obtain files faster and render the code of files without much difficulty when website codes are compressed.

 

 

How Exactly Does Compression Help My Website?

 

website traffic

Website compression can help boost a website.

 

Compressing your files come with a plethora of advantages, such as:

 

  • Quicker loading times
    Compressing website files minimizes their size, which speeds up download and display. Through shorter wait times and higher engagement, this can enhance the user experience.
  • Lower data usage
    A website can send content to users with less data usage by compressing files. This is especially important for mobile users or people with restricted data plans since it can help them remain within their data limit and avoid extra charges.
  • Enhanced website performance
    Websites that use compressed files function better when there is a lot of traffic. By minimizing the volume of data that has to be transmitted, sites can process more requests without experiencing a slowdown or crash.
  • Higher SEO rankings
    By enhancing page speed, HTTP compressions can also enhance a website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Faster website loading times can improve SEO rankings because search engines like Google use page speed as a ranking factor.

 

Basically, with HTTP compressions, you’re able to improve the speed and performance of your website.

 

 

 

3 Helpful Tips When Compressing Files

 

You’re probably itching to compress your files now that you know how much it can benefit your website. But, it’s best to take a step back, slow down and take note of some of our tips that can help you along the way:

 

  1. Remove whitespace from HTML code
    Take a moment to go over your HTML code. Is there a sizable amount of whitespace between the codes? If so, then it’s best to remove these blank lines. While the visible layout of your page won’t change as a result, this compresses HTML files to speed up your website’s response time.
  2. Compress image files
    Almost all websites need photos to elevate content. But, if they aren’t compressed properly, your website will load slowly. To avoid this disaster, you should compress all of your photos, but not too much to where you’ll trade in a huge chunk of quality for speed.
     
    Luckily, there are thousands of different internet programs available that can reduce image file size without compromising quality. For instance, you can use Resizing.app to easily compress your images.
  3. Grouping CSS files and selectors
    Your website’s visible properties are rendered using CSS Stylesheet files, which provide instructions to the browser. So, while these stylesheets are crucial, they can also grow large and hinder the speed of websites. This is why, as a general rule, you should incorporate external CSS files into a single HTML page. The speed and load time of your page will be noticeably improved as a result.
     
    The same holds true for CSS Selectors, which can be found in the stylesheet file. When you combine selectors with similar instructions into a single declaration, your CSS Stylesheet is automatically compressed for faster loading.

 

 

Boost Your Website’s Performance With Compression

 

Nowadays, in our fast-paced digital world, people want to receive the information they need instantly. Users no longer have the time and patience to wait for a slow and clunky webpage to load.

 

This is where speed optimization techniques such as HTTP compression come in. It’s a great way of improving your website’s performance by removing things you don’t need in your files.

 

And, if you want another way to boost your website’s performance, you can also choose from one of the best web hosts. They make sure that your website is always running at top speed, minimizing downtime and ensuring fast-loading pages.

 

So, if you combine a great web host with HTTP compressions, your site will surely be unstoppable!

 

 

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