Google Speed Module to help WordPress

The importance of improving Webpage load speed as a critical part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) activities increased to grow. Google has announced a seriously awesome (and simple) means of gaining significant improvements in page-speed; the mod_pagespeed Apache module (sorry Microsoft Internet Information Server users but you don’t get to benefit from this!) is being tested by a few Hosts. Here is a summary of the mod_pagespeed module from Google Code:

mod_pagespeed is an open-source Apache module that automatically optimizes web pages and resources on them. It does this by rewriting the resources using filters that implement web performance best practices. Webmasters and web developers can use mod_pagespeed to improve the performance of their web pages when serving content with the Apache HTTP Server.

mod_pagespeed includes several filter that optimize JavaScript, HTML and CSS stylesheets. It also includes filters for optimizing JPEG and PNG images. The filters are based on a set of best practices known to enhance web page performance. Webmasters who set up mod_pagespeed in addition to configuring proper caching and compression on their Apache distribution should expect to see an improvement in the loading time of the pages on their websites.

GoDaddy Tests the Perfomance Improving Code

One of the hosts testing this module is Godaddy. Godaddy hosts millions of Websites (mostly on Linux) so Godaddy users will hopefully soon see the benefits of this awesome module. One of the major negative factors of various compression, cache and other Webpage performance enhancing means is that it puts significant load on servers. When hosting large numbers of Sites (as Godaddy does), it is essential that the host servers aren’t overloaded by resource intensive page load speed improvement means (processor usage and memory usage can increased significantly when compressing and caching large amounts of code). Major hosts testing the module is an indication that the code will be less resource intensive for hosts and therefore the hosts will be more willing to allow the use of the module.

What does mod_pagespeed mean for WordPress

Many WordPress Websites will likely benefit from this new Apache module. There are various great WordPress Plugins available for caching, compressing JavaScript, HTML, CSS etc. and mod_pagespeed will add to this arsenal. Because of the afore mentioned negatives of various means of improving Page Load Speed some of the larger hosts (e.g. Godaddy) disable various abilities in order to realise better website performance. Some of the WordPress performance related Plugins therefore either don’t work on these hosts or cause conflicts (and hence the need to implement page load speed hacks on hosts like Godaddy).

A major WordPress host such as Godaddy being used to trial the new Apache module signifies that there will be additional simple means of improving page speed b y these very large hosts. Unfortunately, until there has been more testing, we won’t know for sure what hosts will use mod_pagespeed and what the benefits for WordPress will be.

Update February 2011:

How to use mod_pagespeed with Godaddy:

Enabling mod_pagespeed is incredibly simple. Just go to .htaccess and add the following

<IfModule pagespeed_module>
ModPagespeed on
ModPagespeedEnableFilters extend_cache

There are various parameters/functions that may be set and these are described at Google Code and at Godaddy.

If you are looking for fast and reliable hosting then I thoroughly recommend Godaddy Linux Hosting (many of my clients use Godaddy and are very happy).


  1. says

    Hi Gary,

    thanks for posting and updating!

    After adding the code to my .htaccess, Google Pagespeed still insists that I should "leverage browser caching" for my Godaddy 4HG account.

    Have you had positive findings with the addition to .htaccess?

    Can you show us an example of a wordpress blog where this has helped?



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