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High Performance Web Sites

Cover of High Performance Web Sites by Steve Souders Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. High Performance Web Sites
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Praise for High Performance Web Sites
    3. Foreword
    4. Preface
      1. How This Book Is Organized
      2. Conventions Used in This Book
      3. Code Examples
      4. Comments and Questions
      5. Safari® Books Online
      6. Acknowledgments
    5. 1. The Importance of Frontend Performance
      1. Tracking Web Page Performance
      2. Where Does the Time Go?
      3. The Performance Golden Rule
    6. 2. HTTP Overview
      1. Compression
      2. Conditional GET Requests
      3. Expires
      4. Keep-Alive
      5. There's More
    7. 3. Rule 1: Make Fewer HTTP Requests
      1. Image Maps
      2. CSS Sprites
      3. Inline Images
      4. Combined Scripts and Stylesheets
      5. Conclusion
    8. 4. Rule 2: Use a Content Delivery Network
      1. Content Delivery Networks
      2. The Savings
    9. 5. Rule 3: Add an Expires Header
      1. Expires Header
      2. Max-Age and mod_expires
      3. Empty Cache vs. Primed Cache
      4. More Than Just Images
      5. Revving Filenames
      6. Examples
    10. 6. Rule 4: Gzip Components
      1. How Compression Works
      2. What to Compress
      3. The Savings
      4. Configuration
      5. Proxy Caching
      6. Edge Cases
      7. Gzip in Action
    11. 7. Rule 5: Put Stylesheets at the Top
      1. Progressive Rendering
      2. sleep.cgi
      3. Blank White Screen
      4. Flash of Unstyled Content
      5. What's a Frontend Engineer to Do?
    12. 8. Rule 6: Put Scripts at the Bottom
      1. Problems with Scripts
      2. Parallel Downloads
      3. Scripts Block Downloads
      4. Worst Case: Scripts at the Top
      5. Best Case: Scripts at the Bottom
      6. Putting It in Perspective
    13. 9. Rule 7: Avoid CSS Expressions
      1. Updating Expressions
      2. Working Around the Problem
      3. Conclusion
    14. 10. Rule 8: Make JavaScript and CSS External
      1. Inline vs. External
      2. Typical Results in the Field
      3. Home Pages
      4. The Best of Both Worlds
    15. 11. Rule 9: Reduce DNS Lookups
      1. DNS Caching and TTLs
      2. The Browser's Perspective
      3. Reducing DNS Lookups
    16. 12. Rule 10: Minify JavaScript
      1. Minification
      2. Obfuscation
      3. The Savings
      4. Examples
      5. Icing on the Cake
    17. 13. Rule 11: Avoid Redirects
      1. Types of Redirects
      2. How Redirects Hurt Performance
      3. Alternatives to Redirects
    18. 14. Rule 12: Remove Duplicate Scripts
      1. Duplicate Scripts—They Happen
      2. Duplicate Scripts Hurt Performance
      3. Avoiding Duplicate Scripts
    19. 15. Rule 13: Configure ETags
      1. What's an ETag?
      2. The Problem with ETags
      3. ETags: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em
      4. ETags in the Real World
    20. 16. Rule 14: Make Ajax Cacheable
      1. Web 2.0, DHTML, and Ajax
      2. Asynchronous = Instantaneous?
      3. Optimizing Ajax Requests
      4. Caching Ajax in the Real World
    21. 17. Deconstructing 10 Top Sites
      1. Page Weight, Response Time, YSlow Grade
      2. How the Tests Were Done
      3. Amazon
      4. AOL
      5. CNN
      6. eBay
      7. Google
      8. MSN
      9. MySpace
      10. Wikipedia
      11. Yahoo!
      12. YouTube
    22. Index
    23. About the Author
    24. Colophon
    25. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
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MSN

Figure 17-17. http://www.msn.com

The MSN home page (http://www.msn.com), ranks in the middle among the sites examined in this chapter when it comes to total size and number of HTTP requests. It fails to meet some basic performance guidelines, due especially to the way ads are inserted. However, it has several positive performance traits not seen in any of the other web sites analyzed here. Let's start by looking at how MSN does ads, because this will come up in several of the following recommendations.

MSN uses IFrames to insert five ads into the page. As discussed earlier, with regard to eBay, using IFrames is an easy way to remove dependencies between the ads system and the HTML page generation system. However, each IFrame results in an additional HTTP request. In the case of MSN, each IFrame's SRC attribute is set to about:blank, which doesn't generate any HTTP traffic. However, each IFrame contains an external script that inserts an ad into the page using JavaScript and document.write. Integrating the ad system and the HTML page generation system would preclude the need for these five HTTP requests. Instead of requesting a script that contains multiple document.write statements, that JavaScript could be inlined in the HTML document.

Rule 1: Make Fewer HTTP Requests

The MSN home page has four scripts (other than the scripts used for ads), three of which are loaded very close together ...

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