Google’s Apache Module Speeds up Sites by 2x

Google’s attempt to speed up the Web doesn’t seem to stop by just its publication of articles and tips or introduction of a new image format. The search engine company yesterday released an open source Apache module called mod_pagespeed aimed  at optimizing page caching, reducing the number of client-server rout trips and alleviate payload size. Apache is the most popular Web server with a market share of over 58% as reported by Netcraft’s October 2010 Web Server Survey.

According to Google, “It does this by rewriting the resources using filters that implement web performance best practices. Webmasters and web developers can use mod_pagespeed to improve the performance of their web pages when serving content with the Apache HTTP Server.”

mod_pagespeed includes several filter that optimize JavaScript, HTML and CSS stylesheets. It also includes filters for optimizing JPEG and PNG images. It currently only works with Apache version 2.2 and based on internal testing done by Google for some sampled websites, page load times can be reduced by up to 50%.

If you have server-access level, you can download the Apache module and try it out. The challenge is that with most websites being hosted on shared hosting environments, it might take some time for web hosting companies to deploy mod_pagespeed, but Google mentioned that it will partner with hosting companies to ensure wide and rapid deployment.