2012-10-02

Making the Web Faster

It's all in the 'oblique' action (i.e. '/' (aka forward-slash))

You can make a difference to the speed of the web. Really!

If everyone who can, takes note of this blog, the web will really work more quickly, and it's very easy.

URLs and Oblique

Have you ever noticed, if you copy a domain, e.g. http://www.autarkik.com

and then paste it into your browser, the domain becomes http://www.autarkik.com/

The same works if you copy http://www.autarkik.com/elearning and then paste, you get http://www.autarkik.com/elearning/

Why?

http://www.autarkik.com/ and http://www.autarkik.com/elearning/ are directories, and web servers require web directory URLs to end with '/'.

How?

When you type or paste, e.g. http://www.autarkik.com/elearning the server looks for a file with the same URL. When it doesn't find one, it looks for a directory. When it finds a directory with the same URL, the server effectively executes a redirect and adds a '/' to the end of the URL and then goes to the directory and returns the index document.

So Where is the Saving?

The server needs to look twice for the URL if you omit the trailing '/'. If you include the trailing '/' for domains and directory URLs you are reducing the number of look-ups by 50%. If everyone who uses the web includes the trailing '/' every time they should, then tens of millions of look-ups will not be necessary, every day.

That's how you can make the web faster :-)

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