Google just released the first stable version of mod_pagespeed, the company’s open-source module for Apache that can automatically optimize your web pages to improve download and rendering speeds. With this release, Google is declaring this tool ready for broader adoption, though it’s worth noting that a number of large hosting providers like DreamHost, Go Daddy and content delivery network EdgeCast have already been using it in production for quite a while now.
The company introduced the module in late 2010 and has been working on it ever since. Using mod-pagespeed, Google says, can often halve the download times for larger websites. According to Google, mod_pagespeed currently powers about 120,000 sites.
As PageSpeed team members Joshua Marantz and Ilya Grigorik also note in today’s announcement, ” page speed is one of the signals in search ranking and ad quality scores,” so online publishers who want to rank well on Google’s search results pages should probably give it a try.
With PageSpeed Service, by the way, Google also offers what is essentially a mix of a Google-hosted CDN network that also uses mod_pagespeed to optimize the web pages it serves. PageSpeed Service, however, is currently invite-only.
If you have an hour to kill, here is a deep dive into the intricacies of mod_pagespeed: