We'll take you through the basics of how to set up JCH Optimize for combining and minifying files so you can give it a try on your own sites. As with any new Extension, always make sure you back up prior to installation, and try it in a development environment first to get an idea of how it will behave on your sites and in your environment.
To give a brief overview, here are some of the benefits of combining and minifying website files:
- Number of HTTP requests are drastically reduced.
- The visitor's web browser doesn't have to call as many files.
- Page load time can be dramatically improved.
- SEO is often improved.
- User experience is greatly improved.
When using this Extension on a recent site, we were able to take the Home page load time from just over 8 seconds down to just over 3 seconds. Internal pages saw a general improvement from about 5 or 6 seconds to between 1 and 2 seconds page load time. The overall improvement in the feel of the website response was remarkable.
Whether or not you're paying attention to online tools such as Yslow and Page Speed Insights for page optimization, the real test is the real world "feel" of a website's behavior. An "A" grade on a badly loading page is not nearly as preferable as a quickly loading page with a "B" or "C" grade on those services. The thing to remember is that you should use those tools as references and guides in your fine tuning, but not as an end in themselves.
Go to GTMetrix.com and test your website before installing the Plug-in. You'll need to create an account so you can save your history of tests.
The Plug-in installs very easily. Once installed, you can find it in the plug-in manager, so enable it and get started with basic configuration.
Also, it's important to make sure JCH Optimize is ordered last in your Plug-in ordering.
With the Plug-in installed and configured, go through your site and make sure everything looks good. Head over to GTMetrix and re-run your tests. You may want to do this over the course of a couple of days and at different times just to see a good sample of results.
This one small addition may mean a huge improvement to your Joomla website, depending on your current setup. This is important for so many things, including visitor experience and Search Engine Optimization. Google tends to favor quick loading, highly optimized websites in their search results.
Remember that this is not a "set it and forget it" activity. Good optimization takes time and effort, but it is well worth it.