The way a website is constructed can have a major impact on website speed performance, but developers often have a hard time keeping track of factors that cause slow page loads and other speed-related issues. The PageSpeed Module is one of several free Google tools designed to help assess and improve page load speed times. Unlike its more basic tools like PageSpeed Insights, you need some advanced technical skills to make the most of this PageSpeed service. Let’s explore how it works and what it can do to help get your performance up to speed on the backend and frontend.
What You Need to Know About PageSpeed Module
You know that page load speed is extremely important for retaining website visitors and providing a valuable user experience that contributes to your overall branding and marketing efforts. Branding and marketing may not be direct concerns of the development team, but it’s all connected in the end, right? The goal is to get your clients, customers, and audience engaged and focused on what you have to offer. Good website performance is part of that equation.
PageSpeed is an open source project. If you aren’t familiar with open source, it doesn’t exactly mean what you might think. Basically, Google offers a foundational code package called a module that you can then remake to suit your needs.
This PageSpeed service offers two types of package for web servers: Apache module and Nginx module. The Apache module packages are pre-built binary while the Nginx configuration module consists solely of source code that you can then build upon. After integrating PageSpeed Module components on the server side, the architecture and files of your website will automatically rewrite for optimal performance. All of the optimization and configuration happens on the backend.
At the most basic level, you should understand that this isn’t a tool for people who can’t code and have no interest in learning how. If that’s you, you should still keep reading to learn more about this useful tool, but if you find yourself confused and don’t want to mess with it, it’s understandable. We’ve reviewed some site speed consultants and have recommended a few you can reach out to for custom help.
PageSpeed Module vs. PageSpeed Insights
Many people get confused between the PageSpeed Module and PageSpeed Insights. While they have similar names, they are very different.
Another major difference is the level of basic knowledge needed to use the tool. Anyone can copy and paste a URL into Insights, but you’ll need to understand how to implement modules into a web server’s architecture in order to use Module. This means that novice frontend developers may find it worth their while to play around with the suggestions made in Insights, but if you don’t have a serious interest in the inner workings of the backend, you may want to leave Module to the pros.
Those differences don’t mean the two can’t work together. In fact, many of the issues Insights covers do not relate to the front-end and Module can automatically resolve those issues for you. Using the two tools together results in a more robust and effective approach to diagnosing and fixing load time issues.
After you’ve used these PageSpeed tools, you should notice a change in your MachMetrics reports. Your speed should improve, but if it doesn’t, you’ll need to perform further analysis and get even deeper into the potential issues that can cause slow load times. Here at MachMetrics we’re always willing to lend a hand, just reach out to us and we’ll be happy to take a look.
How to Work with PageSpeed Module
If you do want to give PageSpeed Module a shot, Google makes that easy with some clear and helpful documentation accessible under the “Read Documentation” heading on the PageSpeed Module main site. This is technical documentation designed for developers, though, so if you’re new to all this, be prepared for a how-to guide that isn’t exactly a hand-holding step by step with visual references.
Work with a test box first before actually implementing the module into your server architecture. You don’t want to accidentally really break things as you’re trying to figure this out; therefore you need to exercise caution. Also, check Google’s release notes for PageSpeed Module and get into the PageSpeed GitHub account to get an inside view on what issues people are working with and what known bugs are lurking to mess up your process.
When used in concert with other tools, including PageSpeed Insights and MachMetrics, PageSpeed Module can be a useful tool for automatically optimizing your website for great load time performance. You can cut your load time in half without doing anything other than using the appropriate module for your server configuration.
Have you used the Google PageSpeed Module on your server? Let us know what you think of it below.