After reading this article dealing with “bulletproofing” a blog, I started looking at my own blog. Over the past few months as more and more great plugins come out that I depend on now, my page load times had started suffering. A load time of 14 seconds on a T1 was not unheard of, and it could get as bad as 20 seconds on some days. The article by Eric Amundson had a link to a couple of Firefox plugins that looked promising in helping diagnose ailing websites. One is Page Speed from Google. The other from Yahoo! called YSlow.
After downloading both of these and running them against my blog both were suggesting what I thought at the time would be a major project, enabling caching and gzip compression on my server. To enable caching I found this site that had great examples of a simple addition to the .htaccess file in the blog directory would enable caching. The only thing needing to be edited in Apache is making sure that mod_cache and mod_expires modules are loaded. Most standard installations will already have these loaded for you.
After this I started working on enabling compression. I again found another good resource on how to do that here. I left out the section of mod_expires since I had a .htaccess file with that code already. After doing this and a few other minor adjustments, my page load times were cut in half. On average 7-8 seconds for a first time visit and under 2 seconds for opening a post or another page thanks to most elements already being cached.