Optimize Website On Your CPanel

Optimize Website

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.


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:


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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  1. Sapna says

    Hi Tim

    Great post!
    I think you have chosen the perfect topic.I haven’t used the optimize button on cpanel. But I have been trying to solve the mystery of gzip. Amazingly even after enabling gzip, the tools which I use for measuring the performance of website shows that I haven’t used gzip. I have cleared the cache also, jumped from totalcache to supercache but gzip is not showing.

    The URL you have mentioned should be handy.

    Thanks for sharing this great info.


    • says

      Hi Sapna

      From what I’ve read, I believe the option to turn on gzip compression for WP Super Cache is Compress pages so they’re served more quickly to visitors. (Recommended) under the Advanced panel. I’m not sure if you’ve tried that option already?

      The other suggestion may be to use CloudFlare. I have the free account with them and they use gzip compression.

      Hopefully you’ll be able to figure it out but I’ll certainly try and help if you can’t :-).

  2. says

    Hi Tim
    GZip is optimised for speed and text, and I think Deflate is similar (if not the same algorithm). I enable compression for all text-based stuff on my VPS (HTML, Javascript, CSS, etc), but with a recommended caveat that one of the browsers mangles either JS or CSS if it is compressed, so it doesn’t get compressed copies.

    As for the results, I’ve not compared. Decompression is quick on most machines these days, and download time always seemed to be the bigger issue, so I’ve generally just enabled it. I can see that all that compression could be an issue for the server with 100+ customers all compressing content, but for VPS or possibly even selective compression then I don’t see a reason not to.

    • says

      Hi Saummya

      Welcome to my blog. It’s great to see you.

      I am on a shared server with Hostgator and mod_deflate is not installed on these so unfortunately it would make no difference if I enabled Optimize Website option or not.

      Certainly, I agree, that on a VPS or a dedicated server, where they do have this installed, it would make sense to test out whether Optimize Website helps with load speed or not.

      I had heard that older versions of some of the browsers aren’t able to use gzip compression but all modern versions can. It would be useful to know which browser still mangles JS and CSS if compressed. If you could let me know that would be great :-).

      Thank you for your comments Saummya and I hope to see you again soon.

  3. says

    Hi Tim, Cpanel is not my favorite place but have had to use it more often and am getting more comfortable doing so. I do not have mine optimized and after reading this would agree not to. It’s amazing how many technical things we have to do with our blogs, isn’t it?

    • says

      Hi Lisa

      I’m not keen on cPanel either and I’m sure there’s lots more things in there that I am just not aware of that would be of great use!

      I’ve decided I’m going to set aside some time next week to have a better look at cPanel to see exactly what else there is :-).

      Things are getting more and more technical Lisa unfortunately. At least we can help each other out though if we come across things we just don’t understand.

  4. says

    Hi Tim,

    This is an impressive piece of research and makes me realise how little I understand about what goes on under the bonnet! I have the cPanel optimize website option enabled but, from what you’re saying, it’s probably not doing anything because, like you, I just have a regular hostgator account. I’m going to send the link to your post to the guy who told me about it, to get his comments.

    I’m still not using a caching plugin because last time I checked my site was loading at under 3 seconds, which I think is ok – that’s probably because I don’t have a huge amount of traffic though, so it’s something I’ll need to keep under review.

    Really value your advice about this, Tim – I must admit, I find all this back office stuff a bit scary!


    • says

      Hi Sue

      Thank you for saying that. I’m not sure I really understand what’s going on under the bonnet either but it’s kind of starting to make some sense!

      I looked on the HostGator support portal and was under the impression that they only allow Website Optimize (or mod_deflate) on VPS and dedicated servers.

      However, I’ve now come across conflicting information!

      How To Use Gzip suggests that they don’t allow it on shared servers but mod_deflate suggests they do.

      I’ve fired off an email to HostGator support to clear this up and then we’ll know one way or another!

      If you’re load speed is under 3 seconds then that’s great Sue. It sounds as though everything’s working fine without the need for a caching plugin!

      I’ll let you know what HostGator come back with Sue.

      I hope you’re having a relaxing weekend.


    • says

      Hi Sue

      I just got a reply from HostGator and you’ll be pleased to hear that they do now allow gzip compression on their shared servers.

      So having it enabled via the Optimize Website page will work fine on your blog.

      Apologies for any confusion. I think it would help if HostGator updated their support pages!

      I’ll make sure I check with the horse’s mouth in future :-).

      I’ve updated my post to clarify the situation.

      • says

        No worries, Tim – thanks so much for checking it out for us!

        I know it’s annoying but it’s kind of reassuring that even the big guys sometimes can’t keep up – some of their training videos are out of date too!


  5. Andrew Stark says

    Hi Tim,

    Since I found that my site was taking too long to load and losing me visitors I’ve also been looking into things like pingdom to get the speed down to single figures.

    Here’s some of the issues I found.

    #1 “http://www.yoursite.com” and “www.yoursite.com” are not the same, so it has to call up both versions of your site.

    #2 Images need sizes associated with them in the html code

    #3 GZip compression and the stuff you talk about here matters

    #4 GTmetrix is better than pingdom for helping to give suggestions.

    #5 Upgrading to Thesis 2.0 sucks, I thought it was the theme causing issues, but it was all the things above. They’ve taken something that was simple to use and made it so you need a graphics degree to make it work.


    • says

      Hi Andrew

      You’ve been a busy boy I can see :-).

      I keep meaning to look into 301 directs which I think can help with #1. I’ve not done anything about redirecting the non-www to the www version of my site or vice versa yet.

      For images I now resize them to exactly the size I want with GIMP before I upload them. I also use WP Smush.It and Lazy Load.

      Thanks for the heads up on GTmetrix. That’s a really great shout. I’d not heard of it before and I see where the suggestion for image sizes now comes from as it mentions it for my site!

      I always liked the look of Thesis but wasn’t sure I wanted to dive in and pay the money. So I went with Pagelines because it’s really easy to set up – drag and drop.

      I hope you get you get the load time issues sorted Andrew and good luck with the graphics degree :-)!


  6. dadblunders says


    I have considered getting a dedicated server through BlueHost a lot lately. I am not to fond of a shared connection overall. What I have noticed about the shared connection is it “seems” like I have more problems than people that have the dedicated server (and the cost is not that much for me to switch out to a dedicated server). I have also read several times because I am on a shared server that it is possible to get “pinged” by Google if one of the others that I am sharing the server with has problems. I also looked up the current information on my shared server and I actually share it with close to 1000 other blogs (that number actually astounds me)! I had no idea that it was that many until I started researching it some.

    I, like you, also currently use Cloudflare and a cache version. I just recommended to someone else a nice place to “start” checking your speed is Pingdom. I have NOT read a lot about Apache but I know I need to. I did know there was an optimize version in our C-Panel but have not wanted to even consider looking into it unless I went to a dedicated server. The one problem I have with the “switch” to a dedicated server is the fact that BlueHost tells you that your site “could” be unavailable for 24 hours.

    Great post with lots of pertinent information!


    • says

      Hi Aaron

      I really need to find out how many others I actually share the server with too. Nearly 1000 does sound like a lot!

      I’ll be honest though, I have no idea how I’d find out. You’ll have to let me know.

      Andrew mentioned in his comment about GTMetrix instead of using Pingdom as it gives better suggestions for things that need looking at on your website.

      I just took a quick look at it and it looks pretty good. There’s some really great suggestions for things that need to be looked at on my site.

      Gosh, 24 hours downtime does seem a lot for a dedicated server. Especially as you’re paying more to get the dedicated service. I’m nowhere close to needing it yet but I’m sure one day I will need to look into VPS and dedicated servers myself!

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend Aaron and thank you for your comments.


  7. says


    Wow! I really never paid attention to this “Optimize Website” icon on my Hostgator Cpanel. This is another proof that when we don’t see something it does not mean that it is not there. :)

    I am impressed by your presenting complicated matters in a simple way. Will come to read more.

    • says

      Hi Margarita

      I didn’t notice the “Optimize Website” icon on my cPanel either. It was thanks to Sue that I found out about it. I’m sure there are other little gems in the cPanel that could be quite useful if only I knew what they did! :-)

      Thank you for your kind comments and I look forward to seeing you again Margarita.

  8. says

    I’m also on shared hosting in HostGator and never noticed that button in cPanel. How easy is it to ignore the tools we have in our basket, isn’t it. However, it is disabled in my account too and glad I did not enabled it with similar reasons as you’ve mentioned.

    I used CloudFlare for some time but removed it later. As I experience HostGator is providing ALMOST 100% uptime but using cloudflare I noticed that my sites are down a number of times. On top of that, cloudFlare did not present the cashed version of the page (which is what most of us expect). I did not set up CloudFlare account to display CloudFlare page when it could not fetch my pages.

    Hope it is different with you, but in my case, I better prefer to rely on HostGator.

    • says

      Hi Suresh

      Thank you for visiting my blog. I really appreciate it.

      I had problems with CloudFlare a while back although I think it was also something to do with W3 Total Cache.

      I know that they don’t present the cached version of my page and I was a little disappointed at that. They do however reduce the bandwidth on my blog and offer security options which is why I have kept Cloudflare.

      I did take it off my blog for a while when I had issues with W3 Total Cache and I really should do some testing as to how much it does help.

      I plan to do a post on Cloudflare in the near future so I think I will experiment with it and see what happens.

      Thank you for your comments Suresh and I hope you have a great week!


  9. says

    Hi Tim,

    I hadn’t looked at that part of Cpanel before but I think I might dig around a bit there. I have been looking for ways to speed up my sites and have been a bit hesitant about messing around in places where I am less familiar.

    Yet I think that posts like this provide enough support to do some tinkering.

    So when you don’t see my site tomorrow expect a call from me yelling and screaming. 😉

    Seriously, I do like these posts and find them helpful.

    • says

      Hey Josh

      Glad to be of some use! :-)

      I’ve not had a call yet so I assume nothing untoward happened.

      I like doing posts like this sometimes. I enjoy the research and I’m pleased you find them helpful.

      Let me know how you get on with it!

  10. Khaja moin says

    I see every time when I loginto my Cpanel, even I`m on HG!
    But never tried it, I`m not on cloud fare, so can this help me in anyway?


    • says

      Hi Khaja

      You should try it out. It may help.

      Run a check on your load speed before and after you enable it. From the research I did, it appears to work for some people but not for others.

      It does seem to help with bandwidth usage though.

      Let me know if you try it and if you do, how you get on.

  11. says

    Hi Tim
    I am glad you have written this as I have not noticed Optimize Website” icon on my Hostgator Cpanel either! there is so many things to look at on Cpanel that I must miss loads of stuff that I should be using…
    Thanks for sharing this, I will be looking into it further.
    Have a great week

    • says

      Hi Pauline

      No problem! You can thank Sue really as she was the one that mentioned it to me. :-)

      I agree there are so many things on cPanel and I’ve no idea what many of them do. I plan to have a good look in the next couple of weeks to see if there’s anything else on there that could help us all!

      Enjoy your week too Pauline!


  12. says

    Hey Tim, I’ll just say hello; I have nothing to contribute as my site is what it is for now.

    Good luck w/ whatever you are trying to accomplish with all this ‘stuff.’

    • says

      Hey Bill

      Thanks for stopping by. I know this ‘stuff’ won’t be of interest to you. Glad that you still came along though.

      Hopefully my next post will be more up your street.

  13. Theodore Nwangene says

    Hi Tim,
    Sue did also mention of that tool in one of her comments on my blog but since then i haven’t tried checking it out, not that i didn’t want to anyway but just that i forgot to.

    I will have to try looking into it ones i have some time today.

    Thanks for sharing and do enjoy your week.

  14. says

    Hi Tim,
    It’s really cool that you’re not only looking for the optimisation opportunities, but also share your findings with us)) Sometimes the things are pretty simple, but we insist on making them more and more complicated. Thanks to visiting your blog, I discover the small gems and make my work a bit easier.

    • says

      Hey Jack

      Thanks for saying that. I enjoy doing the research for this kind of stuff and if it helps people in any way, more the better. :-)

      Great to see you Jack and thank you for your support too.


  15. says

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for this insightful post. I did read of this feature on Sue’s blog sometime ago but never cared to do anything about it. Your taking the time to research this and post here for us is commendable. I will definitely be checking out my cpanel and possibly getting to my host to see what I can do about this.

    • says

      Hi Chadrack

      Thank you for your kind words.

      You should definitely check it out to see if it will work for you, or even whether or not it is on your cPanel.

      It sounds as not all web hosts have this icon enabled but you can get gzip compression by using CloudFlare or a caching plugin in any case.

      I hope you’re having a great week Chadrack.


  16. says

    Hi Tim, I looked in my CPanel at Bluehost but didn’t see this option. CPanel is confusing and frightening so I try to avoid it as much as possible.

    I use W3 Total Cache and Smush.It so hopefully that is enough to take care of my needs.

  17. says

    Oh Tim,

    Where do I start! Okay, so I started having issues with my blog last month and I’ll explain more in my next post but I was told to install a WP plug-in called WP-Optimize. It does what you’re saying without going into your cPanel.

    I was also given that website as well to check the speed of my site to see where the issues may lay but that report didn’t help me with the issues I was having at that time.

    I have since learned how to optimize all of my SQL database tables but I soon found that the plug-in actually just does the same thing.

    I was told by my hosting service that Cloudflare would really resolve a lot and that you would not need a caching plug-in with their service. I ended up speaking with someone who had done a lot of research on the topic so I took his suggestion since you know the nightmares I’ve had with that darn W3 Total Cache too!

    I hope you’ve had your issues resolved, I have finally. Yay!!! Boy, what an unexpected education I received. I’m more of in the know though! That’s a good thing.


    • says

      Hi Adrienne

      I am so pleased that you’ve got things sorted out on your blog! I’m sure that’s a huge weight off your mind.

      I have WP Optimize installed on my blog. I use it weekly to optimize the tables. Great that you’ve learnt how to do that manually too though! Something I should probably do too, just for learning purposes more than anything. One less plugin maybe :-).

      Interesting that you don’t need a caching plugin with CloudFlare. I have both but now you’ve got me thinking! I’m going to have to look into that now. I think on the free CloudFlare plan they don’t really cache your pages which is probably why I decided to have both but can’t really remember.

      My blog has returned to its default settings once since I enabled WP Super Cache. It’s really annoying but it’s been a few days so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it was a one-off. In terms of plugins they’re behaving at least!

      Brilliant news again Adrienne that your blog is back to its happy self and that at least you’ve learnt a great deal from the experience.


  18. says

    Hi Tim,

    Nope I didn’t know about it mate :) I did purchase a web hosting plan via HostGator for a friend, and that’s only.

    As I’m not on a self-hosted platform, I have no access to CPanel mate :) But I’ve been using hosting for my client websites and this optimization feature is not there though as they are not from HostGator. I did use WP SuperCache with ’em and it made some improvement in the aspect of performance. However they load better and no complaints whatsoever. No need to fix if nothing’s broken, right? 😉

    It’s very nice how your issues taken you thorugh different kind of tools and that made a great post at the end :) I know of friends who use HostGator and yet I doubt they gonna take this step if they don’t have an issue though. You know, not everyone willing to take risk at all :) Anyway I will share for ones who wanna take a close look.


    • says

      Hey Mayura

      Optimize Website is not just on HostGator as far as I am aware. There are many other web hosts that use it. Some automatically have gzip compression enabled by default though like Bluehost (through mod_deflate).

      I updated one of my plugins this morning and I was pleased that nothing untoward happened. So WP Super Cache is here to stay! Great news from my point of view :-).

      I know many people are worried about taking any risks on their websites, from just adding plugins, to tinkering about with the SQL database, to looking at the cPanel. I agree there’s no point in fixing something that’s broken! I enjoy doing the research though and hopefully I might be able to help some people take the next step.

      Thanks for your comments Mayura and I hope you’re having a great week.


  19. says

    I am still in Google host so, I can’t use this option write now. But this is still very useful to me because I think, I should have my self host within next few month. So thanks for giving me this tips. I will write down this tips in my diary.

    • says

      Hi Hossain

      Welcome to my blog and thank you for your comments.

      Glad to have been of some help to you. Let me know how you get on when you move to a self-hosted site.

      I hope to see you again soon.


  20. says

    Hi Tim,

    I might try adding this one to the mix…one of my security plugins does some
    changing on some of the data bases so if I do, will back up and proceed with caution..

    Never heard of optimizing the data bases this easily….usually much to techie.

    Thanks for the share.


    • says

      Hi Cararta

      Using the optimize website option on your cPanel doesn’t optimize your databases.

      What it does is compress your website’s content using gzip before your visitors see it in their browser.

      If you already use a caching plugin like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache, they already do this.

      However, if you don’t, using gzip can speed up your website in most cases.

      I hope that helps!


  21. says

    Hi Tim,
    Thanks for the intimation about this informative post.
    But sad to note that, i am bit confused about all these
    technical things, since presently i am using blogger,
    and hopefully in the New Year I may shift my page to
    wordpress with the help of one of my brother and friend
    from my native land, He is working on that, and I think
    at a later stage I can think on these lines, and a I am so
    glad to receive such informations before hand,
    Hope you and your family and kids enjoyed the festive season
    Have a happy Holiday ahead and a wonderful, prosperous and
    purposeful New Year 2014.
    Best Regards

    • says

      Hi Philip

      I’ve never used Blogger but I think WordPress will give you much more flexibility to do things with your blog.

      I hope the transfer from Blogger to WordPress goes well for you and that you enjoy getting to know the new platform!

      My family and I had a wonderful Christmas thank you! I hope you did too.

      I wish you a very Happy New Year. Let’s make 2014 a great one!


  22. says

    the topic of speed is really important… it seems that when i choose “Compress all content” things get slower in the browser… i am going to try your list of mime types… i hope you did a good research :)

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

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