Brotli is great at making things small (and no, we aren’t talking about the Swiss bread!)

We all know web performance is essential for excellent user experiences, which have become the expectation. While many elements contribute to optimizing for user experience, site speed is vital. Research has shown that 40% of users leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Even a single second of delay in response time can cause a 7% drop in conversions. As a result, more and more companies are adopting standardized metrics for measuring performance like Core Web Vitals that provide standard quality signals to track. 

Compression continues to play an important role in speeding up websites and web apps, which has a huge impact on user experience, SEO rankings, and ultimately conversions leading to revenue. While gzip used to rule the space, Broti has been growing in popularity since its conception and is now supported across all major browsers (and now Fastly, as well). 

Why HTTP compression?

As a way to gain site speed, compression is relatively easy and painless – especially if handled by Fastly. Gzip and Brotli are both forms of HTTP compression algorithms, which reduce the size of objects (mainly things like HTML, JavaScript and CSS) on the server before sending the compressed version to the web browser or client. Then the browser will quickly decompress using the same algorithm before displaying the web content to the user. This compression workflow decreases the time it takes to load and render a website, as well as the bandwidth needed to deliver it. 

What is Brotli, and should you adopt it? 

Brotli was named after a Swiss pastry, Brötli, which translates to "small bread”. Fitting to its name, Brotli is a next-generation lossless compression algorithm designed for text compression. It was initially developed by Google for compression of web fonts and is on average, 8-13% more efficient than gzip. In 2016 the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) approved the Brotli specification as RFC 7932, and it currently has greater than 94% adoption by all modern browsers. With efficiency gains and widespread adoption from browsers, moving to Brotli is often a very good choice.

Why Fastly Brotli compression?

The Fastly compression feature dynamically fetches content from origin, compresses it, and then caches it to ensure the fastest possible delivery for future requests. If you want to start using Fastly Brotli compression, which frees up your resources and your origins by handling compression at the edge, it’s simple to self-enable with flexible, yet advanced configuration, all for no additional cost to our customers.

Compression is just one consideration for improving web performance.

At Fastly, we’re always looking for ways to make the internet a better place, where all experiences are fast, safe and engaging. Fastly has taken a fundamentally different approach to building a modern edge cloud platform by focusing our efforts on fewer, more powerful POPs at strategic markets around the world. Fastly’s high-density POPs enable us to serve more from cache, including static, dynamic and event-driven content, resulting in better, faster user experiences. 

We’ve also adopted HTTP/3 across our network to increase performance, accessibility, and security so our customers can provide better experiences to more users. Plus, our Image Optimizer transforms and optimizes images in real-time at the edge, serving images in the ideal format, size and resolution, reducing file size and delivery speed without reducing quality. 

If you feel the need for speed, it might be time to try out Broti compression or some of our other performance enhancing solutions.

James Sherry
Senior Product Manager

3 min read

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James Sherry
Senior Product Manager

James is a Senior Product Manager, focused on ensuring the highest satisfaction and success for the top global media brands at Fastly. Before joining Fastly, he worked at Wowza Media Systems, and has over 14 years of experience specializing in streaming and digital media, telecom, and network services. When not working, James enjoys spending time with family, skiing, trail running, traveling, and more.

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