If they were Gzipped, everyone will save bandwidth

What’s common among these websites: Digg, MSN, Orkut, Reddit, Wikipedia, eBay, Blogger and Flickr. Besides being some of the most popular, they are also prone to the excessive bandwidth consumption. And believe it or not, if each one of these web sites was “Gzipped”, then everyone could potentially conserve 65-75% bandwidth. See this example report. That’s a potential bandwidth saving for the web service as well as the end-user.

So what is Gzip? It’s a utility which compresses data. Gzip can also be used for Internet data compression. Gzip is widely available as a filter for both Windows (and this) and Linux web servers; and it is integratable in web programming languages like PHP and ASP.NET (and this, and this).

This blog as well as my web projects are Gzipped for bandwidth conservation. Then what’s stopping the popular websites from making use of Gzip and serving compressed pages to the audience? There are different theories to this cavet. First, the CPU usage associated with on-the-fly Gzip compression of web pages may affect server performance (I doubt that being the case in clustered load-balancing architectures, like most of the popular websites have). Second, there have been reports that Gzipped webpages which have JavaScript/AJAX functions break down. The key question is that whether these factors are greater than the expected savings on bandwidth?

Never-the-less, Gzipping your website is an ideal practice for small & medium scale web applications.

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