The Firefox Page Speed Add-on

PageSpeedRecommendations

Whoa! Look At All Those Recommendations

Once you add the Page Speed Add-on you will think you have slipped down the rabbit hole with Alice. You will wonder if you are on a Speed trip yourself (not that I can tell you what that is like)

This add-on, is an add-on to an add-on. It works as a tab on the firebug add-on. I’ve written about firebug before and how useful it is for making quick CSS changes and additions to your WP theme.

But with Page Speed, you aren’t in Kansas anymore. This is one add-on that should come with a Geek Speak Dictionary and Lexicon.

Fortunately for most there is good news.   The good news is that most of the things recommended you don’t have any control over or the ability to change.   How is that good news?   Because you don’t have to worry about them.   You can’t fix them anyway.   They are server side changes that mean you have to be on a dedicated server.   99% of us doing RE Blogging aren’t paying for a dedicated server each month.   We use shared hosting.   Yes, we hear a lot of chatter about bad neighborhoods and shared hosting.   It does happen.   And people get struck by lightening too, but we don’t stop going outside.   But shared hosting means we can’t make changes to the Apache modules or configure modules that the host doesn’t provide.   Relieved?   Don’t sweat this stuff, honest.

However, there are plenty of things we can address and change to help with the page load time.   There are also plenty of things we can do that we blow up the site and show the dreaded Apache Fail screen.   So be prepared to make a change on one tab and view the change in another and take it back.   Here are the sections that typically come up as red flags and what they kind of mean to you/us.

Enable Gzip Compression

Actually, this is one you can probably do.   It is the first one recommended and from what I read will get you the most return of all the ones in the list.   Especially since most of these you can’t really do anything about or your site is so small you would visually notice no difference.   I’ve already written the post on how to Enable Gzip Compression.   I’ll post it later this week.   (Yes, I will)

Leverage Browser Caching

This means that expiration dates should be set on some url calls so they don’t have to be loaded every single time.   But you will find that often you have no control over the ones in the list because they are plugins.   Here is what it says from my Tucson RE Blog

The following resources are missing a cache expiration. Resources that do not specify an expiration may not be cached by browsers. Specify an expiration at least one month in the future for resources that should be cached, and an expiration in the past for resources that should not be cached:

  • http://22671.hittail.com/mlt.js
  • http://static.woopra.com/js/woopra.v2.js
  • http://static1.headup.com/hjquery-1.3.2.js
  • http://static1.headup.com/jquery-ui-1.7.1.custom.min.js
  • http://tucsonazrealestateblog.com.woopra-ns.com/visit/ra=GSKA7BV7RQTMS4ZN0TGJ6TTCHU5K2EZR&sessio…
  • http://www.blogtopsites.com/v_306.gif

Minimize DNS Lookups

Nice recommendation, but not much we bloggers using plugins can do anything about.   Here are the examples again from the Tucson RE Blog.

The domains of the following urls only serve one resource each. If possible, avoid the extra DNS lookups by serving these resources from existing domains.

  • http://22671.hittail.com/mlt.js
  • http://feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/TucsonAzRealEstate?bg=59a6e6&fg=FFFFFF&anim=0
  • http://lite.piclens.com/current/piclens_optimized.js
  • http://mint1.headup.com/clientscripts/annotate.js?customerid=daveintucson
  • http://s7.addthis.com/static/r07/widget07.png
  • http://static.ak.connect.facebook.com/js/api_lib/v0.4/FeatureLoader.js.php/en_US
  • http://static.woopra.com/js/woopra.v2.js
  • http://themortgagereports.com/chart-of-the-day/image.php/retail-sales-h.png?width=290&color=0547a9&i…
  • http://tucsonazrealestateblog.com.woopra-ns.com/visit/ra=GSKA7BV7RQTMS4ZN0TGJ6TTCHU5K2EZR&sessioncoo…
  • http://www.blogtopsites.com/v_306.gif
  • http://www.feedburner.com/fb/images/pub/feed-icon32x32.png

Leverage Proxy Caching

Due to a bug in some proxy caching servers, the following publicly cacheable, compressible resources should use “Cache-Control: private” or “Vary: Accept-Encoding”:

  • http://22671.hittail.com/mlt.js
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/AnnotateURL.ashx?v=1.1&c…
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/GetConfig.ashx?v=1.1&cal…
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/GetTemplate.ashx?v=1.2&c…
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/css/CharmUI.css
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/css/image-gallery.css
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/js/gallery-builder.js
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/js/headup.js
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/js/jquery.ad-gallery.js
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/js/personalization.js
  • http://ec2-174-129-227-19.compute-1.amazonaws.com/Services/FrontService/js/timeago.js
  • http://lite.piclens.com/current/piclens_optimized.js
  • http://static1.headup.com/hjquery-1.3.2.js
  • http://static1.headup.com/jquery-ui-1.7.1.custom.min.js
  • http://tucsonazrealestateblog.com.woopra-ns.com/visit/ra=GSKA7BV7RQTMS4ZN0TGJ6TTCHU5K2EZR&sessio…
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-2/Themes/Black/lightbox.css
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-2/lightbox.js?ver=1.8
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/css/ngg_shadow2.css?ver=1.0…
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/simple-sidebar-navigation/suckerfish_ie.js
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/style-box/style.css
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/style.css
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-includes/js/prototype.js?ver=1.6
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-includes/js/scriptaculous/effects.js?ver=1.8.0
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-includes/js/scriptaculous/wp-scriptaculous.js?ver=1.8.0

Combine Javascripts

There are 6 JavaScript files served from www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com. They should be combined into as few files as possible.

  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-includes/js/prototype.js?ver=1.6
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-includes/js/scriptaculous/wp-scriptaculous.js?ver=1.8.0
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-includes/js/scriptaculous/effects.js?ver=1.8.0
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-2/lightbox.js?ver=1.8
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-includes/js/swfobject.js?ver=2.1
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/simple-sidebar-navigation/suckerfish_ie.js

Optimize the order of styles and scripts

There are 4 CSS files served from www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com. They should be combined into as few files as possible.

  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/style.css
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/css/ngg_shadow2.css?ver=1.0…
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/style-box/style.css
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-2/Themes/Black/lightbox.css

Parallelize downloads across hostnames

This means you store different parts of your site on different servers and different hosts.   When this is done they can be loaded at the same time instead of one after the other.   But as you can see, there is no practical way to store these on a separate server and change the theme coding to the new url locations.   Even if you did, you would visually notice no difference.   Because these are such small files that the only time gained would be in less than the blink of an eye.

This page makes 22 parallelizable requests to www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com. Increase download parallelization by distributing these requests across multiple hostnames:

  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/style.css
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/css/ngg_shadow2.css?ver=1.0…
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/style-box/style.css
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-2/Themes/Black/lightbox.css
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/header-images/AguaCaliente1aheader%20(Large).jpg
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/icon_calendar.png
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/McDsWiFi-282×399.jpg
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/CloudySkies-580×385.jpg
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/images/SearchTucsonHomesButton.jpg
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/images/HomeWorthButton.jpg
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/images/DreamHomeFinderButton.jpg
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-includes/images/rss.png
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/images/equal_housing_icon.gif
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/body.gif
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/gradtop.gif
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/search-btn.png
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/written.png
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/commentw.png
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/arrow-left.png
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/arrow-right.png
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/content-bottom.png
  • http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/wp-content/themes/Impress/images/footer-bg.png

Most of What Page Analysis Will Tell You WON’T HAVE ANY IMPACT ON YOUR PAGE LOAD TIME.   Why?   Because your site, my site, most sites aren’t heavy in graphics, sound and video files.

Gzip however, is one place we can gain some speed.   Oh, yes, a good caching plugin too, right?   Well, we shall see on that one.

Should I install the Page Analysis Plugin for Firebug

If you have the geek gene needing to be scratched, then go for it.   You might learn a couple of things.   I like it for one simple reason.   After I install a new plugin I can run the page analysis and see what kind of strain it is adding to the site.   Then I can evaluate if the value of the plugin out weighs the load.

For example the Headsup plugin I’ve been testing is the one that added all the Amazonws/Services/ up above.   That one I just deactivated.   I don’t consider it of that much value at this time.

This concludes our 1000 word post on the Firefox Page Speed Add-on as an additional tab to your Firebug plugin.

Comments

  1. Wow. Amazing post. Amazingly over our head. Which is why it helps to read things like this to better understand what we SHOULD understand.

    Great blog site here!

  2. There has been a lot of talk lately about improving the speed of your site. It’s one of the reasons I chose the theme that I did (Thesis) Unfortunately all the plug-ins and embeds seem to drastically reduce the speed. I installed the plugin on Firefox… thanks for the help explaining it. It’s all so new to me!
    .-= Ryan Crozier@Indianapolis Real Estate´s last blog ..Homes in Apple Creek – Avon, IN =-.

  3. Ryan,

    Good luck with finding places to improve your load time. I’m sure there are some hiding here and there. Personally, I’m not a fan of Thesis. It is one theme I almost always refuse to work on. There is so much customization that almost any upgrade of WP can require an upgrade of Thesis. They also have an issue with the way they handle H1 tags that I don’t like. There’s more but you get the idea. I much prefer a WP compliant theme design over one like Thesis with so much custom programming.

    Enjoy the game tomorrow.

    Dave

  4. Wow, I had no idea how much time those wp plugins, which aren’t even operating on the pages I was analyzing, were taking up. I compared my site to some others and I have to agree with Ryan, Thesis is a lot less of a speed sucker. I hear what you’re saying about the custom programming Dave, but I use Thesis on a number of sites and I really can’t complain. I see much better results with Thesis.
    .-= Atlanta GA Short Sales´s last blog ..Georgia Short Sale Guide =-.

  5. It’s great that Google is releasing the mod_pagespeed Apache module. At least a number of factors that can improve Website load performance will be taken care of by the new module!

  6. I used load java script on footer (plugin for wp) on my sites.Pages laod very fast and i see that if google spiders won’t be able to read your site map in less than 2 seconds they abort the operation!

  7. Ben,

    I’ll take that for a spin and do some testing with it activated and deactivated. Thanks for the tip.

    Dave