Every Millisecond Counts: Page Speed for Firebug

Hey there! I'm currently working on a CLI tool to deploy WordPress apps to DigitalOcean. Check it out! It's free and open source.

Here’s a little video that we’ve seen at Arvind’s and Sreeram’s presentation about speeding up the web at the Google Developer Day 2009 conference in Moscow. Inspiring isn’t it?

Arvind and Sreeram talked about a very nice plugin for Firefox (built upon Firebug) which is called Page Speed, developed and maintained by the Googlers. You may read more about the plugin on the official page at Google Code: Page Speed for Firefox/Firebug plus a bunch of cool tips and tricks right here: Let’s make the web faster. I used to run with one called YSlow by Yahoo, but the Googlers seem to have made a better job.

I ran the speed tests on my homepage and got quite a few sweet suggestions, mainly about combining and minifying my CSS and JavaScript files, distributing static content to different cookie-less domains and a couple more. Well combining and minifying CSS and JS would have been quite difficult in WordPress due to the series of plugins that use their own, if it weren’t of course for the W3 Total Cache plugin. In only a few minutes I managed to combine all javascript and stylesheets into single minified versions, which were recreated whenever a plugin was updated. After doing that, running the same test didn’t yield out that problem anymore. Distributing static content to different domains, well that’s one more issue that would have been solved by that brilliant cache plugin and its CDN features, but I guess I’ll have to wait for Amazon CloudFront compatibility.

One more thing I love about Page Speed is that not only they state the problem, but also provide the solution, or at least an easy guide to the solution. Now with a few warnings left, my Page Speed overall performance is okay. I hope to optimize that later this month for even faster access, and perhaps sign up with a PubSubHubbub service (Brett Slatkin had a fantastic presentation on that one at GDD too), and I can finally pronounce that correctly, Hubbub for short.

About the author

Konstantin Kovshenin

WordPress Core Contributor, ex-Automattician, public speaker and consultant, enjoying life in Moscow. I blog about tech, WordPress and DevOps.


  • Okay with more experiments with W3 Total Cache I've been able to completely break all my javascript and stylesheets, sweet. It seems that there's something wrong with their minify functionality. The Page Speed plugin for Firefox on the other hand suggested its own minified versions of my scripts and styles – no conflicts, hurray!

    • Yeah! That's what I just tried to see the response. Guess what? No sale. lolz.
      Anyways what's your thought on the performance of Thesis? It says it reduces the redundancy in WordPress files but I think having more php files to read from HDD turns out to be a bottleneck.

    • I wrote a post about Thesis and SquareSpace some time ago ( https://konstantin.blog/917 ) My personal thoughts on performance of Thesis.. Huh? What performance? Performance is what you get with a good caching plugin, neat CSS and javascript, CDNs and a fine-tuned MySQL server. I'm not saying that Thesis is a bottleneck, but there are way too many factors for Thesis to be "the one that boosts your performance".

      WordPress introduced the themes & plugins APIs for a reason. Themes should be themes and plugins should be plugins. You can't put performance tuning in a theme, a theme should just look good and that's all that matters. I think that Thesis is trying to be a all-in-one corporate website-builder package, but that would involve rewriting all the WordPress plugins database (and that's over 7000 plugins). Thesis is a so-called "theme framework" so the guys and DIY Themes should focus on the actual theming, providing developers with enough functionality to theme. The performance will be taken care of by the existing plugins and web server administrators ;)

      Anyways, these are just my thoughts. I haven't played with Theses for quite a long time and I'm not really sure about what the guys are up to right now, but I still believe that theme frameworks are useless (for developers like us) as WordPress itself has all the functionality to jump around.