Make Fewer HTTP Requests

Started by sukishan, Aug 23, 2009, 12:15 AM

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Make Fewer HTTP Requests

Making fewer HTTP requests turns out to be the most important optimization technique, with the biggest impact. If your time is limited, and you can only complete one optimization task, pick this one. HTTP requests are generally the most "expensive" activity that the browser performs while displaying your page. Therefore, you should ensure that your page makes as few requests as possible.

How you can go about that, while maintaining the richness of your pages?

Combine scripts and style sheets: Do you have a few <script> tags in your head? Well, merge the .js files into one and save your visitors some round trips; then do the same with the CSS files.
Use image sprites: This technique allows you to combine several images into one and use CSS to show only the part of the image that's needed. When you combine five or ten images into a single file, already you're making a huge saving in the request/response overhead.
Avoid redirects: a redirect adds another client-server round trip, so instead of processing your page immediately after receiving the initial response, the browser will have to make another request and wait for the second response.
Avoid frames: if you use frames, the browser has to request at least three HTML pages, instead of just one -- those of the frameset as well as each of the frames.

You've got the basics now. In summary, make your page and its assets smaller in size, and use fewer assets by combining them wherever you can. If you concentrate on this aspect of optimization only, you and your visitors will notice a significant improvement.

Now let's explore some of the Yahoo! recommendations in more detail, and see what other optimizations can be made to improve performance.
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