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How to Enable GZIP on WordPress

Updated on Nov 22, 2022

Every website owner wants their site to load quickly. The faster the site, the better the user experience, and the higher the conversion rate. In addition, Google ranks pages that load faster higher in search results. So you have a good reason to squeeze every last millisecond out of your website. GZIP is one method for doing so with WordPress sites. Making things smaller is the absolute best way to make them load faster. Right? That is exactly what GZIP does. We'll show you how to enable it and ensure your page loads quickly, even if you already have image compression and other settings configured and optimized.

This post includes:

What is GZIP?

GZIP, on the other hand, is an open-source compression method. It works behind the scenes to send as few data files as possible to your visitors. According to the official website:

gzip is a single-file/stream lossless data compression utility that produces compressed files with the suffix .gz.

gzip also refers to the utility's associated compressed data format.

While it's common to assume that anything with the letter g in its name is a Google product, this one isn't. The acronym comes from the fact that it is a GNU-licensed utility. And it excels at what it does. That's why, even if you're running image optimization and JS/CSS minification, GZIP keeps crunching the website's file sizes to the smallest possible size. It does not work on images or super-large or extra-small files. What it does compress, however, it knocks down significantly.

GZIP basically smooshes together good, clean human-readable, semantic code so that only browsers can read it. It will never be seen by the developers because it is compressed on the fly after the request is made. So don't be concerned about needing to access your files and finding a jumbled mess. You will not.

And if you’re a Divi user looking to speed up your site, GZIP is only one of the ways we recommend you do it.

Is GZIP Already Enabled on Your WordPress Site?

For some users, you may not need to enable GZIP. You may already be using it without realizing it. If you go to GTMetrix or the Pingdom speed test, you can see if your site is graded on compressing its components or not. Under Enable Compression or a similar heading, you should see something like this:

If you do not, you will receive a low compression grade that will look like this:

And, if you're like us, you'll want to run multiple checks to see what's going on under the hood, even if a speed test returns a green result. You can always look for a GZIP checker. Base64.guru is one that provides a quick response that explains how and why GZIP is or is not enabled.

There are several reasons why you might have GZIP enabled and not realize it. The first is that your hosting provider may enable GZIP for you automatically. Because the servers must recognize the browser request for GZIP, some enable the algorithms automatically.

GZIP may be enabled for your site by your website caching plugin. WP Rocket, for example, has it enabled by default. However, you can double-check your .htaccess file to ensure the rules are present.

Lines like #Gzip Compression and the mod deflate rule will be present. You shouldn't have anything else to do at this point. If your speed tests continue to indicate that you need to enable GZIP, contact your hosting company's support and request that mod deflate be enabled on your server.

How to Enable GZIP on WordPress

Using a plugin is probably the simplest way to enable GZIP on WordPress. There's no need to worry if you're not using WP Rocket or another caching plugin that handles the rewrite for you. You can quickly install a GZIP-specific plugin. WP-Optimize is one of the simplest, and it's available on the WordPress.org plugin repository. Keep in mind that this is a general website caching plugin, so if you already have one of these setups, it may not work properly. However, if you scroll down, we have a suggestion for you as well.

Once downloaded and installed, a WP-Optimize menu item will appear in your dashboard. Navigate to Cache under it to find a GZIP Compression tab.

And that's the end of it. Most users will see a green checkmark indicating that it is enabled by default. Simply activating the plugin should suffice. Otherwise, simply follow the instructions, and your website will be zipping those files in no time. Other caching plugins, such as W3 Total Cache, include this functionality as well. However, not all of them leave GZIP enabled by default. It will simply be a checkbox or toggle switch that you must enable.

You can also use a plugin like Enable GZIP Compression to handle only that task. This is preferable if you already have a caching plugin on your site and don't want to risk incompatibilities as users make requests to your server.

Conclusion

The best thing about GZIP is that it already works under the hood for many users. They may be unaware of it, but it exists. If your site is experiencing performance issues, it's always a good idea to double-check your GZIP settings. Don't worry if the tools and utilities return a message saying you don't have GZIP enabled. With the right plugins, it's only a few clicks away. And, since you need a caching plugin to improve WordPress speed anyway, there are only positives and benefits to doing what you need to do for GZIP.

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