Speed is a big factor in your website’s rank. It is one of the most important factors that search engines like Google consider when deciding where to put your site in the SERPs. If it doesn’t load, it doesn’t rank! The good news is that there is a host of quick and easy ways that you can improve your load time. If you tackle the list one by one, you will see noticeable improvement. The technique we’re going to look at today is the Keep Alive feature in Apache.
We’ll use Apache for our example, but you can still enable Keep Alive if you have WordPress or another platform. First, though, what is it? There is a signal sent between client and server; if no reply is received, the server assumes the link is down. It essentially shuts the link down. It will reroute data until the link is established again. Keep Alive signals that this connection is to remain open. This improves speed because the server doesn’t have to process all requests; it can simply return the content.
This feature is often disabled, so to get it up and running:
- Go to your htaccess file. If you can’t find it, don’t panic! Make sure your FTP program displays hidden files (.filename). Make an empty file and upload it onto a folder on your webserver. If you see it, you can see hidden files. If not, you can find the setting to turn that on. This way, you can check to see if you have an htaccess file.
- If you need help finding or creating an htaccess file, WordPress has some advice
- In your file, you will need to add this code:
# BEGIN Keep-Alive
Header set Connection keep-alive
# END Keep-Alive
And there you have it. The hardest part is finding or creating your htaccess file! From there, simply plop in the code, and you should be helping your site Keep Alive. You’ll use a bit more memory, but you’ll increase speed. Remember, if a page doesn’t load within 3 seconds, most visitors will click away. Speed matters!