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How to Use GZIP Compression (2 easy install methods)

The simplest way to make your WordPress site faster is to remove all of its unnecessary resources. Compressing all of the desired resources is the second fastest way to speed it up. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do so is to allow GZIP compression on your web server.

GZIP compression is supported by default in all modern browsers. You must, however, configure your server properly to serve the compressed resources to your users without any glitches.

In this article, you’ll learn the fundamentals of web data compression, including what GZIP compression is, its various advantages, and how to use it to speed up your WordPress sites on various server configurations.

A GZIP compressor compresses a collection of raw data without loss of quality. The raw data could come from any file form, but text-based assets function better with GZIP (e.g. HTML, CSS, JS).

To begin, the GZIP compressor compresses the raw data using the LZ77 compression algorithm to eliminate redundancies. This algorithm works by looking for recurring patterns in a sliding window.

To compress the raw data, it replaces all repeated strings with tuples.

The GZIP compressor compresses the raw data further using the Huffman coding algorithm after compressing it with the LZ77 algorithm. It accomplishes this by allocating the fewest number of bits to characters that appear more regularly, thus allocating the greatest number of bits to uncommon characters.

To represent letters and symbols, almost all websites use the UTF-8 character encoding. Each ASCII character uses one byte in UTF-8, which also contains the English alphabet (8 bits).

GZIP Compression: How Effective Is It?

For small files, GZIP usually achieves a compression ratio of about 70%, but it can reach up to 90% for larger text-based properties.

Many common operating systems (Linux, macOS, iOS) and modern gaming consoles use an abstraction of GZIP’s compression library called zlib (PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox One). It’s also used to compress images in the lossless PNG file format.

GZIP Compression’s Benefits

Let’s take a closer look at the most significant GZIP compression benefits.

Provides a Reasonable Compression Ratio

GZIP, as previously said, does not have the highest compression ratio as compared to its competitors. It’s also not that far away from them. It will usually help you reduce the size of text-based tools by 70% to 90%.

Compression and decompression are extremely fast

GZIP is the obvious winner in terms of data compression and decompression speeds. For on-the-fly compression in HTTP servers and other data sources, it’s ideal.

It just needs a small amount of memory.

GZIP uses a small amount of memory, making it ideal for servers and systems with limited memory. As a result, even the cheapest web hosting companies will support it.

Except in the worst-case scenarios, it doesn’t expand much.

GZIP and other lossless data compression algorithms have a strict limit on how much data they can compress.

Open Source and Free to Use

GZIP was designed to be a free, open-source replacement for the proprietary compress software that was used in early Unix systems. As a result, it is free of any patents and can be used by all.

Has a Wide Range of Support

GZIP compression is used by 82 percent of all websites tracked by W3Techs, making it the most commonly used compression algorithm on the internet.

Almost all servers and clients support GZIP compression. You can speed up your site by allowing GZIP on any server where it is hosted.

How Do I Know If GZIP Compression Is On?

  1. Online GZIP Compression Test Tools – The simplest way to see if GZIP compression is available on your website is to use an online tool. Using the free Check GZIP Compression or HTTP Compression Test tools to test compression. Simply type your website’s URL into the box provided and click the Check or Test button.
  2. The “content-encoding: gzip” HTTP Response Header – The content-encoding: gzip HTTP response header is the second way to check whether a website delivers GZIP compressed content. You will find this response header in the Network section of Chrome DevTools or Firefox Developer Tools.
  3. Webpage Speed Testing Tools – Most website speed monitoring tools will alert you if you don’t compress your webpages with GZIP. You can use tools like PageSPeed Insights, GTmetrix, Pingdom Tools, and WebPageTest to check whether you have GZIP compression enabled on your WordPress website.

GZIP Compression: How to Enable It

Method 01: Enable GZIP with a WordPress Plugin

Using a caching or performance optimization plugin is the simplest way to enable GZIP compression on your WordPress blog. You can check here how to install a wordpress plugin.

For example, if your WordPress site is hosted on an Apache web server, W3 Total Cache has a GZIP compression option in its Browser Cache settings panel.

Similarly, WP Rocket allows you to automatically apply GZIP compression rules.

Method 02: Enable GZIP on Apache Web Server

You must use Apache’s modules and configure them properly with the right directives to allow GZIP compression.

mod filter
mod deflate

They’ll tell Apache to compress server performance before sending it over the network to clients.

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