Still from the movie Star Wars showing the heroes inside the Death Star trash compactor.

On the internet, every last byte counts. Web developers tend to spoil themselves with high bandwidth connections, obscuring but never negating a central fact: the less information you send, the faster a page will appear.

After image optimization there are just a few possibilities for reducing the size of files and speeding up your website. Shaving a few kilobytes from each page, HTML, CSS and JavaScript “minification” is typically run through at the very end of site development, after final quality assurance.

For your pages to load as quickly as possible, every resource needs to be optimized and compressed. As images are the greatest contributor to the overall file size of most sites, they should typically be the web developer’s first and primary area of concentration, which I’ve covered in a previous article. After that, other site resources should be compressed in terms of how frequently they are used, including the stylesheet.

Optimisation of CSS is a three-step process, and you’ll usually need a combination of tools to gain the best results.

Having your site online means that users may already be suffering slow download speeds on your pages. On the other hand, with the site online, you have the ability to truly test its effective speed.

I’ll get to a recommended list of testing services in a moment. No one service will cover every feature you want, which is why I recommend using the entire suite below. The services include: