What is Gzip compression?

This is a small post about what Gzip compression is.

Basically, Gzip is a compression method that makes files/data smaller in size and there by let it travel faster over networks. This compression allows web servers to send smaller files to the requested users increasing the page load speed. The HTTP protocol has the ebility to gzip data. But zipping the data makes the server do additional work. The browser will be unzipping the files. Text files, like JS, CSS and HTML are best compressed by Gzip.

How does Gzip compression work?

Gzip locates similar strings in a text file (say Javascript, CSS or HTML) and replaces those strings temporarily to make the file size smaller. This information is passed as meta data to the browser to understand for decompressing files. CSS and HTML has many strings that come repeating, that is why Gzip is very effective in the text content compression and not very effective in image compression.

How to enable Gzip compression in my server?

For apache servers you need to enable mod_deflate module and use the following code in .htaccess file.

<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
  # Compress HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Text, XML and fonts
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

</IfModule>

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