Brotli & WordPress: Baking 20% smaller rolls

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Brotli & WordPress
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Who wants to bake smaller buns? Any WordPress -professional who wants to deliver his website as fast as possible. For some time now, a technology called Brotli has been in high demand - how it makes yours site faster and what it has to do with the Swiss, I'll tell you today.

Currently there are different compression methods. Long was GZIP the standard, but in the meantime a new algorithm called Brotli has outstripped it. Your first question is probably: Can I make things faster with BrotliWordPress ? Yes, I can.

In fact, Brotli is now included by RAIDBOXES default, so your website will keep up with the times in terms of compression.

In this article I'll show you

The 1 x 1 of data compression

Data compression is a technique that reduces the storage space of data as much as possible. Because: the lower the volume consumed, the shorter the transmission time.

The reduction is achieved by summarizing or reducing the data. In principle, the information is converted into a shorter form that requires less storage space.

Compressing and unpacking are two processes, but the bottom line is that they are still faster than simply transferring large amounts of data.

Google as Brotli baker

The previous compression standard on the Internet was GZIP. This compression works with an algorithm called Deflate, which is a combination of the LZ77 technique and Huffman coding. Deflate exists already since 1993 and has established itself as the absolute standard for HTTP transmissions.

But that was not enough for Google. In his endless efforts to improve the Internet, the Silicon Valley giant developed the algorithm Zopfli (named after the Swiss Hefezopf) a few years ago. Zopfli uses a similar technique as Deflate and is also compatible with its data format, but already shows some improvements.

The Google technicians were probably still not satisfied with this, because there are now Brotli - named after Brötli, Swiss rolls.

Brotli is an open source algorithm, which according to Google represents a completely new data format. Compatibility with Deflate is now a thing of the past, but Brotli brings some other advantages.

GZIP vs. Brotli: Who will make the race?

So how much savings does Brotli make compared to the standard GZIP procedure? Reports show a clear lead:

  • With HTML Brotli saves 25% more disk space than GZIP.
  • With JavaScript it is 17%.
  • CSS is saved 20% smaller by Brotli than by GZIP.

In principle, the difference in speed between the transmission of compressed and uncompressed data is already very large. GZIP already saves quite a bit of memory compared to the initial situation. Brotli goes one better - even if the figures compared to GZIP no longer look like massive savings.

Brotli offers the following advantages, especially for mobile sites applications

Especially mobile devices and data tariffs benefit from compression. Here, the available bandwidth is often much lower, so that even a 20% saving can result in a much better user experience. Web servers and devices may be quite fast by now - but the Internet is not always.

As more and more users access websites on the move and therefore benefit from the smaller size of Brotli files (e.g. through reduced battery consumption and lower transmission fees), Google hopes that the algorithm will become the new standard in the future.

Restrictions when baking bread

Despite these advantages, Brotli is not an all-rounder. Probably also because the algorithm is quite young - Google introduced it in September 2015 - you still have to accept one or two limitations.

Precise configuration is important

However, file size savings are not the only yardstick against which a compression method must be measured. After all, you want to improve the performance of your website. The speed with which information is compressed and decompressed is also an important aspect. Because it depends on how quickly the website visitor gets to see results.

A wrong configuration between memory saving and speed of conversion can cause GZIP to be even faster than Brotli. Both GZIP and Brotli have several quality levels (GZIP nine and Brotli eleven).

So here it is a matter of fine-tuning what you want to get out of your configuration. Test results show that Brotli at level 4 saves more memory and even works a bit faster than GZIP at level 6.

Brotli only works under HTTPS

Brotli only works with HTTPS connections. But honestly: Since Google officially announced that the use of HTTPS a ranking signal should be switched to SSL very soon anyway. Especially since HTTP2 one more performancechub delivers. This is just one of the many reasons why we have been supplying chub for RAIDBOXES 1.5 years. free SSL with one click as standard.

Brotli is perfect for static content

Another often discussed issue is the compression of dynamic content. A quick refresher:

  • Dynamic content is only generated individually with your request, e.g. if you only want to see the entries of certain categories in a blog or if you select shirts of a certain brand in a certain size in an online shop using the filter function. Of course, the content is not compressed until it has been generated.
  • Static content, on the other hand, is already compressed on the server and is delivered to all users in the same way.

The crux of compressing dynamic content: As long as the server is busy packaging the content smaller, the user does not see anything at first. Only when the compression is complete, the data is delivered. And the better the compression, the longer it takes. Even at low compression rates, dynamic compression can limit performance. Static content, on the other hand, which is already compressed, can be delivered in no time at all when a user requests it.

In practice, it has been shown that although Brotli static content moreif the algorithm is configured accordingly. For dynamic content, however, many webmasters still prefer GZIP.

Not all browsers support Brotli

As far as servers are concerned, NGINX and Apache (version 2.5 and higher) now support Brotli. However, not all browsers are yet included. At present, the procedure works only in the following browsers:

  • Chrome (since version 50)
  • Firefox (since version 44)
  • Opera (since version 36)
  • Edge (since version 15 from April 2017)
  • Android browser (since version 56)
  • Safari (from version 11)

Users of Internet Explorer have to do without at the moment. But the good news is that the content is still delivered to these users: GZIP will then switch on automatically. So you don't have to worry that visitors won't see anything in Safari and IE.

But since at least in Germany with Chrome and Firefox already almost 60 percent of the market are covered, you can in any case assume that a large proportion of your website visitors can already benefit from Brotli.


Saving storage space, delivering websites faster and increasing performance: We are happy to be part of that. In my opinion, the advantages are obvious. RAIDBOXES -Customers are already benefiting today: Brotli is built into the servers as standard.

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