With the launch of our new Site Tools-based infrastructure we have opened a wide range of opportunities to further improve the loading speed of the websites hosted on our servers. The first change we have already introduced to everyone using Site Tools, is the replacement of the Static Cache with a new NGINX Direct Delivery. We no longer serve images, CSS, JS files and other static content from the server memory, but we use NGINX for direct loading of these files from the SSD instead. This improves browser caching for your site and also makes CDN usage easier and more efficient. Most importantly, NGINX Direct Delivery allows more RAM space to be used for dynamic content caching, without compromising on static content loading speed.
What is NGINX Direct Delivery?
This is a method to serve static content of your website using the try_files functionality of NGINX. It allows us to remove the static content from the server memory, but still find it and serve it super fast directly from the NGINX, skipping the communication with the Apache web server.
What are the benefits of NGINX Direct Delivery?
Standard caching headers for better browser and CDN caching
With the NGINX Direct Delivery we started serving standard caching headers for static files. This optimizes the way your site is using the browser caching and CDN caching. In our previous Static Cache setup you had to use the SG Optimizer WordPress plugin or number of .htaccess rules in order to properly configure browser cache. Now this is all set for you and you don’t need to do anything. We’ve configured the periods for which browsers will cache static content by the official Google guidelines and we communicate them with the headers. With the Static Cache, CDN servers sometimes failed to detect that a static resource is modified. Now, since we provide all the necessary standard headers, you don’t need to do any additional configuration for your CDN - it will properly get static resources and their modified dates and flush cache when needed.
Using server memory more efficiently
Probably the most important benefit of the implementation of the NGINX Direct Delivery is the fact that we have managed to free up a lot of server memory to store dynamic content. With the previous Static Cache setup we used to store a lot of static files in the RAM, which did make their loading fast. However, for your overall website speed it is optimal to use the RAM as much as possible for caching dynamic content. Now, with NGINX Direct Delivery, we have the option to serve static content super fast from the SSD. Thus, we can store more dynamic content in the RAM and for longer periods too. This has greatly increased our global dynamic-to-cache hit ratio, which means that sites using our dynamic cache option have been loaded in the fastest possible way for much more visitors than before.
The introduction of NGINX Direct Delivery is just the first step in an elaborate plan to make our clients’ website load faster than ever before. Stay tuned for the other exciting loading speed improvements news to be published shortly.