Google Officially Speeds Up Web Page Loads

Google's mod_pagespeed software, finally exiting beta after two years, reduces load times of Web pages served by Apache Web servers by as much as 50%.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

October 11, 2012

2 Min Read

Companies with slow websites, be warned: Poor Web page load times might affect how those pages rank in Google searches.

Google noted this in a blog post on Wednesday marking the transition of its open-source mod_pagespeed software from beta status to official release. "[P]age speed is one of the signals in search ranking and ad quality scores," said software engineer Joshua Marantz and developer advocate Ilya Grigorik.

The software is an Apache server module that helps accelerate the delivery of Web pages.

Google has made speed in its various forms--Web page load time, network latency, software responsiveness--a priority for years, knowing that users abandon websites and software that perform poorly and that fast response times correlate with better user satisfaction, engagement, and monetization.

[ Read Google Declares War On Slow Web Pages. ]

Google launched mod_pagespeed two years ago in an effort to automate the speed improvements available through the use of its Page Speed tool. The software module helps reduce the load times of Web pages served by Apache Web servers by optimizing caching, reducing client-server round trips, and minimizing file sizes. The company claims mod_pagespeed can reduce page load times by as much as 50%.

The module is used by over 120,000 websites, according to Google. It's available to customers of Web hosting companies such as DreamHost and Go Daddy and content delivery networks such as EdgeCast and Contendo.

Google also offers speed as a service: Its PageSpeed Service fetches content from client servers, restructures the content to accelerate delivery, and makes it available around the world from its own servers. In addition, the company offers other tools to assess and evaluate Web page performance, such as its Google Analytics Site Speed Reports, PageSpeed Insights, and PageSpeed Optimization products.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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