Google has shown that they have become increasingly concerned with the overall user experience of a website. One of the top factors is page speed and loading time. While there are many ways to speed up page loading time, one of the best things you can do is enable WordPress GZIP compression.
Anyone who owns a website should want their users to have a great experience. When you enable GZIP compression in WordPress, you immediately improve overall website speed and performance.
Many web host providers automatically enable this for you, so you don’t have to worry about it. However, if you are on a non-host then there is a great plugin to use that will achieve this for you.
What is GZIP Compression?
GZIP is actually a format and software application used for file compression and decompression. Originally created by Jean-loup Gailly and Mark Adler, it was released as a free software replacement for the compression program used in early Unix systems.
One major fall of GZIP is that it doesn’t work on images and can be put and take with other media files. That said, there are some excellent image compression tools you can use to take care of the images on your WordPress site.
When I say GZIP is a little give and take with other media files, I mean it depends on the file type. For example, MPEGs and WAVs compress very well with GZIP. On the other hand, an MP3 file can increase in size if you try to compress it.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to enable GZIP compression in WordPress. Let’s take a look at the plugin we’re going to use and see what it has to offer.
Enable GZIP Compression
Enable GZIP Compression is a very simple, straightforward plugin that does one single thing. It allows you to enable or disable GZIP compression on your WordPress site. It is open source and supports Apache HTTP Server.
There we are! There are no settings for the plugin and you can have it running on your website in a couple of minutes. Let it set and run together.
Enable GZIP Compression in WordPress
Step 1: Install and Start the Plugin
To enable WordPress GZIP compression properly, first you need to install and activate the plugin. You can do this by going over to the Plugins page inside the WordPress admin dashboard.
Once you’re on the page, you’ll notice a search field is available. Use that search field to search for the plugin by name. Once you see it pop up, install it and activate it from there.
Step 2: Go to the GZIP Main Page
Now that the plugin is installed, you need to go over to the main GZIP plugin page. To get there, click Settings> GZIP Compression, located on the menu area of the left side of the dashboard.
You can see that this option has now appeared and is available because you successfully installed the plugin.
Step 3: Enable GZIP WordPress Compression
At this point, you are on the main page of the plugin. You will find a single button to press that enables you to enable WordPress GZIP compression.
Go ahead and click on the “Enable GZIP Compression” button. There we are! In three easy steps, you have enabled GZIP compression in WordPress.
Note: You may be warned that something seems to be working. The alert may be different for a host but might look like the one pictured below. If you receive an alert like this, contact your web host and ask them to activate the correct module or do whatever else is needed at their end.
Test Your Website With GTmetrix
If you are not sure whether your WordPress site files are being compressed with GZIP, there is a simple and quick way to test. GTmetrix it has a great site testing tool that can provide all the information you need if you are running a test.
All you have to do is go to the GTmetrix website and add the relevant URL you want to test to the available URL field.
Click on the blue “Test Your Site” button and the website will run a full test. You will find all the results from that test on the next page and you can go over them and see if everything is working correctly.
Why GZIP Compression Is Important
If you are familiar with the computer world (you probably have since you read this) you know that compression is something that is often encountered. It’s a great way to group many files together and make one smaller file instead.
Essentially, this speeds up your site and loads times because it removes all the huge files that could lead you to a problematic and slow page load speed. A slow web site has a negative impact on overall site statistics, user experience, and ranking in search engines.
According to Neil Patel, 47% of users expect a web page to load two seconds or less. Yes, this can seem like a very fast load time, but be honest with yourself, if a page takes too long to load, you don’t stay on that site. When someone has a slow eCommerce site, they lose a site, and more importantly, they lose sales.
So, you can see that optimizing the WordPress website and getting it in the right place is of the utmost importance. This is why WordPress GZIP compression should be at the top of your list.
GZIP WordPress Compression Plugin Plugin Options
If you want to explore other GZIP compression plugins for WordPress, there are some others to really look into. Enabling GZIP Compression was our choice here because it is so easy to use. However, look at these other plugins as an alternative.
Ninja Page Speed
PageSpeed Ninja is described as the ultimate WordPress performance plugin. It gives you access to all the tools you need to make your site load faster on desktop and mobile by repairing all Google Page Speed issues with one click. Among all the tools it has, you can quickly and easily enable GZIP file compression.
Spectacular Speed is an all-in-one WordPress website performance plugin. It helps you improve overall website and Google Page Speed performance by converting images to WebP, preloading pages using GZIP compression. It has quite a few options and provides lots of great tools, so give it a go.
Another alternative to the GZIP Compression Enable plugin is Cache Enabler. This is a simple yet powerful WordPress caching plugin that is very easy to use and has an intuitive interface. It creates static HTML files and stores them on the server disk. It also comes with GZIP pre-compression support.
While there are several things you should do to your WordPress site to optimize it and help with page load times, WordPress GZIP compression is one of the best things to do and not difficult to implement .
As long as you have the right tools and instructions, then you are well on your way to a faster performing website. The GZIP compression plugin above gives you a one-click widget that will enable this on your WordPress site quickly and easily.
Have you ever deliberately enabled GZIP compression in WordPress? Is there another plugin you like better than the ones listed above?