All posts tagged ‘Page Speed’

File Under: Browsers, Software

Page Speed Add-on Headed to Chrome

One of the most useful browser extensions for web development is coming to Chrome.

Google is working on a Chrome version of its Page Speed add-on. Page Speed is an essential tool for testing sites in Firefox. It breaks down all the stuff on your page and shows you how long everything is taking to download, execute and render. It’s also fully open source and it has its own SDK.

Matthew D. Steele, one of the key engineers at Google responsible for Page Speed, has confirmed that a Chrome version is “already in the works,” and will be ready within a couple of months.

Page Speed currently runs inside of Firebug on Firefox, and there is already Firebug Lite for Chrome. There’s no word yet on whether Page Speed will remain dependent on Firebug (Lite) once it moves into Chrome, or if it will be a stand-alone add-on, but we’ll find out more details soon. In the meantime, if you have an answer to that mystery, let us know in the comments.

If you are curious about using Page Speed to speed up your website, check out Scott’s recent post on using Page Speed and YSlow together.

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File Under: CSS, Web Basics

How to Speed Up Your Site With YSlow and Page Speed

We all want our websites to load faster, but speeding things up can be tricky. There are numerous tried and true tricks we all use to keep page load times down, but once you’ve done a few rounds of optimization, you tend to hit a plateau where it’s tough to squeeze any more speed out of your code.

Most web developers are familiar with tools like YSlow and Google’s Page Speed. If you haven’t ever used them, go install both right now — they’re available as add-ons for Firefox. Both tools are designed to help you speed up your site’s page load times by showing you exactly what’s slowing them down, and used in tandem, they can alert you to some optimizations you never knew existed.

I recently sat down and tried, as best I could, to do everything that YSlow and PageSpeed recommended and I managed to shave my page load time roughly in half. When I started, my homepage took between four and six seconds to load. Now, it loads in one to three seconds on average.

To compare load times I used both YSlow and PageSpeed, as well as WebPageTest. Those numbers aren’t exactly benchmarks, since there’s some speed variation depending on what’s loaded in the cache, but a performance increase of about 30-40 percent is what you can expect if you haven’t yet explored these methods.

Some of what YSlow and Page Speed will tell you should be obvious — limit your HTTP requests, minimize, compress and combine your JavaScript and CSS files, use CSS Sprites, put your script tags at the bottom of the page and compress your images.

However, some of the more obscure and less-used (judging by viewing source code around the web) techniques these tools point out can make a surprising difference.

Before we get to the “how to” part, keep in mind the old saying “premature optimization is the root of all evil.” What I did with YSlow and its ilk was the last bit of optimization I did. In other words, be sure you’ve taken care of the big problems before you try to stamp out the smaller ones.

That said, I was surprised by how much of a difference some very small changes made.

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