HTTP Compression – A faster way to improve web site performance – At minimal cost

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HTTP compression

– is a simple way to improve site performance
and decrease bandwidth, with no configuration required on the client

– is a capability built into both web servers and web browsers, to make better use of available bandwidth.

– HTTP protocol data is compressed before it is sent from the server.

How HTTP Compression Works
IIS receives a request, it checks whether the browser that sent the
request is compression-enabled. (Recent versions of Microsoft® Internet
Explorer and most other browsers typically send the following header if
they are compression-enabled: Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate.) IIS then
determines whether the request is for a static file or for dynamic

If the content of the file is static, IIS checks
whether the file has previously been requested and is already stored in
a compressed format in the temporary compression directory. If a
compressed version of the requested file is not found, IIS sends an
uncompressed version of the requested file to the client browser while
a background thread compresses the requested file. The newly compressed
file is then stored in the compression directory, and subsequent
requests for that file are serviced directly from the compression
directory. In other words, an uncompressed version of the file is
returned to the client unless a compressed version of the file already
exists in the compression directory.

If the file contains
dynamic content, IIS compresses the response as it is generated and
sends the compressed response to the browser. No copy of the file is
cached by the Web server.

The performance cost of compressing a
static file is modest and is typically incurred only once, because the
file is then stored in the temporary compression directory. The cost of
compressing dynamically generated files is somewhat higher because the
files are not cached and must be regenerated with each request. The
cost of expanding the file at the browser is minimal. Compressed files
download faster, which makes them particularly beneficial to the
performance of any browser that uses a network connection with
restricted bandwidth (a modem connection, for example).

If your
Web sites use large amounts of bandwidth or if you want to use
bandwidth more effectively, consider enabling HTTP compression, which
provides faster transmission times between IIS and compression-enabled
browsers regardless of whether your content is served from local
storage or a UNC resource. If your network bandwidth is restricted,
HTTP compression can be beneficial unless your processor usage is
already very high.

IIS provides the following compression options:

• Static files only.

• Dynamic application responses only.

• Both static files and dynamic application responses.

processing can affect CPU resources because IIS does not cache
compressed versions of dynamic output. If compression is enabled for
dynamic responses and IIS receives a request for a file that contains
dynamic content, the response that IIS sends is compressed every time
it is requested. Because dynamic compression consumes considerable CPU
time and memory resources, use it only on servers that have slow
network connections but CPU time to spare.

Compressed static responses can be cached and therefore do not affect CPU resources like dynamic responses do.

Compressing application response files is usually called dynamic compression.

Using HTTP Compression for Faster Downloads (IIS 6.0)

Enabling HTTP Compression (IIS 6.0)

Customizing the File Types IIS Compresses (IIS 6.0)

Speed Web delivery with HTTP compression



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