Google Page Speed service is the Google’s answer to Cloudflare and I have decided to give it a try on this blog to see how it works and if it makes my site faster. Normally I’m not much in to CDN’s because I could gain similar performance for less cost by using an tuned nginx setup for static content delivery. However CDN’s will be handy if you need to store lots of files. I’m managing a large social network and on there I use Amazon S3 and Cloudfront CDN for content delivery. Handling a large number of small files such as user photos and thumbnails is a worrying task and Cloud comes to rescue there. I don’t use CDN’s for this blog or any other regular web sites that I have. Just for the sake of experimenting I have tried Google Page Speed Service.
GPSS is still at beta stage and you need an invitation to get in. You can request an invitation here and you will probably receive one in few days if your site is eligible. Setting up GPSS is really is just like Cloudflare. You just have to set a CNAME record for WWW pointing at “pagespeed.googlehosted.com”.
Like shown on the screenshot above GPSS works by sitting on the middle of your server and end users. GPSS servers cache the images and other scripts to deliver it quickly to the users. And there are many other advanced optimization techniques are used on it.
So after setting up the CNAME google will send you an email welcoming you to the service and you can view the status on your dashboard. And Google lets you to benchmark your site to see the improvements. Here’s a benchmark from India
You can choose the location to do the tests and it makes a huge difference like you see on above when tested from locations, far from where your web site is hosted on. This is because Google has caching servers worldwide. The 4.2 second number you see above is because I’m not using my regular speedy nginx setup at the moment because I’m experimenting the ranking changes when using htaccess and Apache.
After setting up GPSS you might loose your rankings on Google because elements like images are served from google’s domain like 1-ps.googleusercontent.com/h/www.ruchirablog.com/*************** So because of this very own reason I have stopped using GPSS for now. I can’t risk my ranking positions because of a CDN. And when I stopped using GPSS I have received an email from Google asking for feedback and on there,
Surprisingly Google knows that there is a problem with search rankings, else they wouldn’t include that right? So bottom line is that, GPSS is a great free (at least for now) product and you will save bandwidth and reduce server load by using it. But you might have to face problems with your search rankings. Be sure about what you want to do.
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