One of the more recently popular modules for Apache is mod_pagespeed. It is an output filter for Apache 2.2+ that can be configured through a variety of options through configuration files or a .htaccess file. An “output filter” is a something that transforms the data before it’s sent to the client. In other words, it’s a layer between your website and what the user’s browser receives when they visit your URL.
The goal of mod_pagespeed is to speed up your website. It does this by applying filters to a variety of files in order to reduce the number of trips the browser has to make to grab what it needs, to reduce the size of those files and to optimize the length those files are cached.
Installation is very simple. It’ll vary depending on the operating system you use. Ubuntu and Debian have packages you can download and install (or any Linux distribution that uses .DEB packages). Other Linux distributions can download the source and build from that.
If you’re on a 64-bit version (likely)...
If you’re on a 32-bit version (less likely)...
sudo dpkg -i mod-pagespeed-*.deb apt-get -f install
Remove the downloaded package
Note: Installing from source is outside the scope of this article. You can find detailed instructions from Google here:Build Mod_Pagespeed from Source
The module enables itself automatically when installed. However, you must restart Apache for it to start working.
service apache2 restart or
You should now have a working version of mod_pagespeed up and running on your VPS. You can check this by looking at your page’s response headers. There should be a value for “X-Mod-Pagespeed” with the version number you installed.
The installation package handles a lot of configuration out-of-the-box. In fact, there are conservative defaults that are automatically enabled on Apache. Depending on the Apache version you’re running, you’ll get a different version of the module installed and enabled. If you’re running Apache 2.2,
mod_pagespeed.so will be installed; Apache 2.4 users will use
Note: mod_pagespeed only works with Apache 2.2 and greater. There is also a bug with Apache 2.4.1 that prevents it from working with that version. Apache 2.4.2 or greater should be used.
Additionally, configuration files have been added to your Apache installation. The primary configuration file is
pagespeed.conf. This file is located at:
If you wanted to, you could stop now. The defaults for mod_pagespeed are good, but you’ll often find that you can get better performance with a few additional tweaks to your site. Every site will get different results with different settings and it’s best to play around and find the settings that work best for you and your site.
For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll go over a few of the more common settings.
There are a few different ways mod_pagespeed can be configured. You can use the pagespeed.conf file described above to configure it for the whole server. Or, if you’d rather, you can put your configuration settings in the VirtualHost directive for an Apache virtual host/website. Finally, you have the option of specifying directives in a .htaccess file, such as what most sites do for mod_rewrite.
The least performant of these options is the .htaccess file because it has to be loaded with every request. The pagespeed.conf file is loaded when Apache starts, so it’s the ideal place to store your configuration settings. Inside the VirtualHost directive is also preferable to inside your site’s htaccess file for the same reason. That’s a good place to put site-specific settings too.
You can use whatever text editor you want to edit the configuration file. For this tutorial, we’ll be using nano.
To start editing the main configuration file, use the following command:
In general, the settings in pagespeed.conf are pretty well documented inside the file. There is also a great list of filter examples available from http://www.modpagespeed.com. Here are a few common settings you might want to play with to optimize for your site’s performance.
First off, you can turn the module on or off with the ModPagespeed setting.
You can specify different “levels” of settings to simplify any configuration. The default is
“CoreFilters.” It contains a set of filters the Google team believes is safe for use. The filters are the individual actions that are applied to a file. In general, you won’t need to change this value. It’s easier to use this default and then enable or disable filters using the
The default setting:
To disable CoreFilters use this setting:
Note: You’ll have to explicitly enable any filters you want to turn on using the “
Using the default “CoreFilters” rewrite level includes a number of filters by default. As of the time of this writing, it includes:?
New filters will be added in the future. By using CoreFilters, you’ll automatically have these filters enabled if they become part of the default set whenever you update mod_pagespeed. Using PassThrough will require you to explicitly enable the new filters.
If you’d like to enable additional filters, you can pass them as a comma-separated list to
ModPagespeedEnableFilters. You can have multiple ModPagespeedEnableFilters directives throughout your configuration files. So, if you want to enable a filter per site, you could enable it in the virtual host configuration file or in the .htaccess file instead of in the main pagespeed.conf file.
Here’s an example that enables the Pedantic filter (which adds the type attribute to script and style tags) and the Remove Comment filter (which removes all HTML comments):
You can also disable filters on a per-case basis if you’d like. Specify a list of filters you’d like to disable similar to
ModPagespeedEnableFiltersThe following example disables the “Convert JPEG to Progressive” filter even though it’s part of the CoreFilters set:
This would disable rewriting of any files that match the wildcard pattern specified (jquery UI in this case).
You can also turn off the rewriting of all files by default and only enable files you want to rewrite manually. You can do this with the following settings:
ModPagespeedDisallow "*" ModPagespeedAllow "http://*digitalocean.com/*/styles/*.css" ModPagespeedAllow "http://*digitalocean.com/*.html" ModPagespeedDisallow "*/notrewritten.html"
The order of execution means that all files at digitalocean.com ending in .html would be rewritten. That last Disallow directive means any URLs matching that pattern would not be rewritten because it overrides the previous setting.
Don’t forget if you’re using the pagespeed.conf or VirtualHost files to alter the settings, you’ll have to restart Apache for the settings to take effect. You can do this with the following commands:
service apache2 restart or
This guide will help you get started using mod_pagespeed. There are a number of other settings and directives that can be applied server-wide or per-site. In addition, mod_pagespeed is under active development so it’s changing every day. For more detailed information, visit the Google-run http://www.modpagespeed.com.
In addition, you can check out the official mod_pagespeed site at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/mod.
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It is not working for me, I followed all the instructions written on this page But when I check headers of my site it is not showing any header related to pagespeed. In the conf file ModPagespeed is also “On”.
Here the ModPagespeed on command is not found. How is that possible? There’s pagespeed conf file which pretty means pagespeedmod was installed. :S
Update to my previous comment:
https://www.countryipblocks.net/ agrees that the server is in the UK. http://whatismyipaddress.com/ip-lookup says the US.
I’ve posted the problem and solution at http://stackoverflow.com/questions/25251845/sudo-dpkg-i-mod-pagespeed-deb-giving-not-a-debian-format-archive-error - without mentioning Digital Ocean because I really don’t think that’s where the problem lies, as Google should happy about both the UK and the US using the module and the ip address can surely only indicate the origin as one of those two.
wget https://dl-ssl.google.com/dl/linux/direct/mod-pagespeed-stable_current_amd64.deb did not work correctly on a London server for either an independent sys admin or me.
It turned out to be the same issue as noted at http://www.turnkeylinux.org/forum/support/20120514/how-do-i-install-modpagespeed#comment-18576 with the same solution:
“The problem with me was that the source didnt get downloaded correct from Google. When I opened the downloaded file it was a HTML doc saying that I had no access to the document in my region. I guess my server’s IP was somehow mistraced by Google to some weird country or something. The solution was to DL the source from my computer, then using ftp to put it on th server.”
I am also in the UK so Google should have recognised me as being in the same country as the server, where the download did not work properly.
Is it really possible that London droplets are not seen by Google as being in the UK?
It seems like a lot of these server side settings are similar to application level optimizations done by things like caching plugins for Wordpress (i.e. W3 Cache). If so, should I be turning those kinds of things off?
find / -name mod_pagespeed.so -print
use the above command on Ubuntu, it will print the path of mod_pagespeed if it’s installed
find / -name mod_pagespeed_ap24.so -print
Hi, this is my very first contribution to the community.
Al least in Debian 7, I had to ‘chown’ to www-data the /var/cache/mod_pagespeed folder, because I noticed too many errors in /var/log/apache2/error.log
Thanks for your post!
Marvelous share - thanks!
@lopikunik: Try running “a2dismod pagespeed” as root, followed by “service apache2 restart”.
How to uninstall mod_pagespped in ubuntu 12.04 LTS