Reading some WordPress blogs, I realised I should check out the speed of the blog (ie, how quickly pages load). The first step was installing Yahoo's YSlow extension for Firefox, which gives very detailed information on what's going on. (Turns out turning on the built-in developor extensions to Safari gives most of the same information.)Pretty poor: typically 13 seconds, loading 400KB over 44 requests (assuming no caching). Not quite as slow as a dead sloth in tar, but definitely room for improvement.Enter stage left the very nifty PHP Speedy WP plugin that does lots of clever things. It's main strength is in automatically combining together all the separate CSS and JavaScript files that WordPress and the various plugins generate for a single page. It also strips out unnecessary comments and whitespace from those files. (The Script Compressor plugin does the same minimisation.) This combined with persuading my web hosting company to turn on gzip compression for page responses -- what was that all about, Speed Hosting?? -- has been a big difference.It's now taking 208KB over 26 requests, reducing to just 8KB and 10 requests and 1.6 secs if you've visited the site before. That's more like it!

AuthorJonathan Clark