Internet users are very impatient; they want any website that they click on to open in a flash. SEO and webmasters also want no delays in loading their websites when a visitor clicks on it. Nowadays internet users see websites loading very fast without any delays, and the reason for this is compression. Compressing files and storing them on web servers and then distributing them to users is the only way to end delays in website loading.
What happens in a typical scenario where there is no file compression is that the browser sends a request for a file to a server for a file.
The server responds; 'Yes, I have the file and I am sending it across its 200KB'.
The browser responds '200KB ouch! Ok, loading..loading..loading…got it'.
It is what happened before compression was introduced. Users had to wait for websites to load, and if a user were watching a video, the irritating buffering message would keep popping up. To end this delay and speedup file exchange between browsers and servers files had to be zipped (compressed) and exchanged. Just like we zip large files and attach them to emails and send them to recipients. We do this to reduce the file size so that it will take less bandwidth and time in transmitting.
File compression was introduced to make the file size smaller and faster to send, and some file compression solutions were offered by application developers. However, these file compression solutions only compressed certain file types or were restricted for use on similar operating systems.
A compression solution that could be used across different platforms was needed. Gzip file compression algorithm was developed, and the first version was released in 1993. The gzip compression algorithm 'deflates' and sends files across. It has become the standard for file exchange on the World Wide Web. By using what happens is that a browser sends a request to the web server for a compressed version of a file. The web server responds; 'Yes, I have a compressed version its 10KB'. The browser responds; 'great send it I will decompress it.' The web server sends the file; the browser decompresses it and displays it to the user. In this scenario, the time consumed to send the file is drastically reduced, which means no waiting at the user end.
All modern day browsers have the inbuilt capability of receiving gzip compressed files and decompressing them. Yes, some old browsers do not have the capability of decompressing compressed files, but there isn’t much a webmaster can do about this.
SEOs and webmasters can configure the server on which their website is being hosted to use gzip compression. They cannot control the browsers. A website developed and ran in WordPress can enable gzip compression WordPress htaccess or configure gzip compression WordPress on the website. Websites which are not in WordPress will have to use gzip compression command.
Gzip has become the de-facto standard for file compression on web hosting servers. Gzip was developed to allow users to compress files across different platforms, and browsers were developed and launched to handle these compressed files and decompress them and present them to users. Less bandwidth is used in sending gzip compressed files which means users are happy.
In today's internet world websites contain so much information. Typical websites contain content, graphics, images, video clips, etc. combine all these into one file, and two problems are encountered. One the file size is huge, and second, it takes up a lot of bandwidth in transmission. Gzip compression takes care of all these aspects and compresses the file into manageable chunks which consume less space and bandwidth.
There are so many tools used in developing websites, and they can be hosted in different environments; e.g., on Windows or Linux or UNIX servers. Therefore website files have to be compressed and placed in these different environments in the basic .htaccess code that is used in all websites.
As a webmaster or SEO once you have encoded gzip compression in your website you would want to test and see if it has been installed and is working.
To check if gzip compression is running on your website is quite easy. Go to smallseotools.com from your web browser and scroll to the 'Check gzip compression' utility. Another and faster way of accessing this website would be to copy/paste smallseotools.com/check-gzip-compression in the navigation bar of your search browser.
Enter the URL of the website that you want to check and click the 'Submit' button. The utility will check the website and return the results. It will tell you whether the website has gzip enabled or not. It will display the domain name, the compressed and uncompressed size.
Also, it will also display some header information of the website.
In the case on the website gzip compression not enabled you can enable it. To enable gzip compression you must know the server type on which your website is hosted. The results from the test you run will tell you the server type.
If you are unsure about the code you need to use to enable gzip compression on your website, seek help on the internet. There is some website which will tell you the code to embed in your website's header code. As most web servers are Apache servers, find the Apache code and copy it in .htaccess on your website's code.
Enabling gzip compression on your website will make your visitors happy as your site will load fast. If you are an e-commerce site, you don't want your click customers to abandon your site because it takes too long to load. Gzip compression is a free tool and if you haven’t enabled it on your website do it now.