http compression in lighttpd

Today I had occasion to test trivia’s page load times. I used the (admittedly fairly dated) website optimization test tool and was surprised to find that it reported that parts of the pages I tested were not compressed before delivery.

I have the default compression options set in my lighty configuration file as below:

compress.cache-dir = “/var/cache/lighttpd/compress/”
compress.filetype = ( “application/javascript”, “text/css”, “text/html”, “text/plain” )

and the mod_compress server module is loaded, so I expected all the text, html and scripts loaded by my wordpress configuration to be compressed.

It turns out that in order for compression to work correctly in WordPress (or any other php based web delivery mechanism) with lighty you need to enable compression in php. In all the time I have been running trivia on my own server I hadn’t done this. The option that needs to be changed to correct this is to set:

zlib.output_compression = On

in “/etc/php5/cgi/php.ini“.

What I think I might need to work on now is the number of scripts my theme and plugins load. Counterize in particular is beginning to feel a bit sluggish. Certainly the generation of traffic reports is now quite slow and mysql is chewing up a lot of CPU. I suspect that I may need to purge the database and start afresh in the new year – or find another nice traffic analysis tool.

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