Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site

Yahoo Developer Network

The Exceptional Performance team at Yahoo! has identified 34 of the best practices for speeding up your web site.

Here are six random ones in alphabetical order:

Avoid CSS Expressions
The problem with expressions is that they are evaluated more frequently than most people expect. Not only are they evaluated when the page is rendered and resized, but also when the page is scrolled and even when the user moves the mouse over the page. Adding a counter to the CSS expression allows us to keep track of when and how often a CSS expression is evaluated. Moving the mouse around the page can easily generate more than 10,000 evaluations.

Avoid Redirects
The main thing to remember is that redirects slow down the user experience. Inserting a redirect between the user and the HTML document delays everything in the page since nothing in the page can be rendered and no components can start being downloaded until the HTML document has arrived.

Minimize HTTP Requests
80% of the end-user response time is spent on the front-end. Most of this time is tied up in downloading all the components in the page: images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc. Reducing the number of components in turn reduces the number of HTTP requests required to render the page. This is the key to faster pages.

Pack Components into a Multipart Document
Packing components into a multipart document is like an email with attachments, it helps you fetch several components with one HTTP request (remember: HTTP requests are expensive). When you use this technique, first check if the user agent supports it.

Preload Components
By preloading components you can take advantage of the time the browser is idle and request components (like images, styles and scripts) you’ll need in the future. This way when the user visits the next page, you could have most of the components already in the cache and your page will load much faster for the user.

Reduce Cookie Size
HTTP cookies are used for a variety of reasons such as authentication and personalization. Information about cookies is exchanged in the HTTP headers between web servers and browsers. It’s important to keep the size of cookies as low as possible to minimize the impact on the user’s response time.

Get all 34 of the Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site

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