Optimize Website On Your CPanel

I’m always looking out for ways to get more from WordPress.

More speed, more functionality, more security; it’s like searching for the holy grail.

I’ve written about optimising your blog in earlier posts:

W3 Total Cache Has Been A Total Frustration

Your Blog Speed Sucks!

10 Incredibly Effective Ways To Speed Up Your Blog

and these posts mostly stem from issues I’ve had on my blog and solutions I’ve found to combat them.

My friend Sue Neal mentioned to me a while back that there is also a way to optimise your website via the cPanel – Optimize Website. It’s an icon that I’d never noticed before but I’ve now had some time to research it.

My web host is HostGator and the icon is under the Software/Services section of my cPanel (see below). It may be located elsewhere on the cPanel with other web hosts.

cPanel

If you click on the icon you’ll come to the following screen:

Optimize Website

The setting on mine is disabled and I’ll explain why in a minute.

Generally, you can choose the Compress All Content option unless there are specific things you wish to compress under the MIME types.

The only downside of this is that it will also try and compress images too. Image formats are already compressed so it’s just creating extra work for your website and may decrease performance overall or even increase file sizes.

MIME types are used to identify the type of information that a file contains. If you’re going to choose your own MIME types, I’d suggest the following based on the information I’ve found on the internet:

text/html
text/plain
text/xml
text/css
application/xml
application/xhtml+xml
application/rss+xml
application/javascript
application/x-javascript

This will compress your html, xml, text, css, rss and javascript files.

By compressing your files in this way, you’ll decrease the amount of data that is downloaded and the bandwidth you’re using which should allow your website to load more quickly.

You can check to see if the compression is working by using the gzip test tool at http://checkgzipcompression.com.

As I mentioned above, I don’t have Optimize Website turned on and that’s for 3 reasons:

  1. I use CloudFlare on my blog and they use gzip compression already.
  2. WP SuperCache also has an option to use gzip compression and I have this option selected –  Compress pages so they’re served more quickly to visitors. (Recommended) under the Advanced panel.
  3. On  HostGator shared hosting accounts, the Optimize Website option is not enabled. It only works on a VPS or a dedicated server. I’m on a shared hosting account so the Optimize Website option is redundant.*

Certainly if I had a VPS or a dedicated server and I wasn’t using CloudFlare or WP Super Cache I would have Optimize Website enabled via the cPanel.

* Since writing this post, I’ve had clarification from HostGator that while they didn’t use to offer gzip compression on their shared servers, they now do via the Optimize Website page on the cPanel.

One thing I would say is that on researching this, it seems that while Optimize Website can certainly reduce the bandwidth your blog or website uses it may not necessarily speed up your website.

It does depend on such things as your WordPress set up and even the theme you have installed. Test your blog before and after enabling gzip compression with Pingdom Tools to see if Optimize Website will increase your load speed or not. **

** Thanks go to Andrew Stark for suggesting GTmetrix as an alternative to Pingdom for checking your website’s load speed. GTmetrix gives lots of helpful suggestions after you’ve run the test on your website of things you can do to optimise your site.

Did you know about the Optimize Website icon on your cPanel?

Have you ever used it? If so, has it helped to speed up your blog or website or done the opposite?

I’d really like to know your thoughts and experiences.

P.S. Please share this post on your favourite social media sites if you’re feeling social!

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