Speed Up Your Website or Blog with YSlow

Brandon and I just got back from WordCamp in San Francisco. Boy howdy did we learn a lot of great tips and tricks for WordPress (and met a lot of great new people!).  One of the speakers I saw was Steve Souders, an originator of something called YSlow. So, here’s the first tip I’ll clue you in on – YSlow. YSlow analyzes your website and give suggestions for ways to improve the speed and performance based on a set of rules for high performance web pages.

YSlow is a Firefox add-on integrated with the Firebug web development tool.  So, right off the bat, we’ll need two things.  One, you need to be on FireFox (sorry, IE users, but it’s time to upgrade anyway).  If you don’t have it, get it here.  Next, you’ll need to install Firebug. (It’s easy, FireFox does most of the work for you.)  Finally, install YSlow.

Once all that is set, running YSlow is super easy.

  1. Load the page you want to inspect (in FireFox, of course).
  2. Click the YSlow icon in the bottom bar of the browser
    YSlow Icon

When loaded, you’ll get a letter grade for each “speed element” as well as an overall grade for the speed of the site.  (See a snipit below)  With each of the speed elements, there are tips on how to improve the grade.  In just a few minutes I took Think-Press.com from an “E” graded site that took 6-7 seconds to down load to a “C” graded site that loads in about 2-3 seconds!  Some of element are beyond your control, but there are a lot of good little tidbits in there to help you speed up your site.

You’ll even see a quick stat for each page load in the bottom right corner of the browser like so
YSlow Stats
This gives you the overall grade of the site, the size of the load and the time of the load.  What you see there is the new and improved Think-Press.com.

Happy optimizing!

YSlow Snipit

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