Guvnr Gets Steroids – Pursuing The Holy Grail of Less HTTP Requests

a website image sprite for faster loading pages

An often overlooked blog or web site improvement is reducing HTTP requests. Good for page load, improved usability, SEO and ultimately for traffic.

Normally I wouldn't bother writing a post about a site update but, begorrah, I'm so chuffed with Guvnr's new mechanics that I had to spew some spiel. In fact, I'm so ridiculously excited about this new bee in my blognet, reducing HTTP requests, that I plan to tutorialise the process.

Basically, pageload's faster.

Offsetting some of the gained efficiency, I've added a few new cosmetic gizmos too, and improved search usability. (Those two should be in reverse order.)

Setup Unmanaged VPS (4 Noobs!) ... with vpsBible
Secure WordPress. Properly. ... with wpCop, the platform's dedicated security website
Olly 'the_guv' Connelly's site and 'WordPress 3 Ultimate Security' book.

You know the deal. You build your site and, in the rush to launch the thing, along with other commitments, you cut corners. I had quite a few of those. With this site amply laden with scrummy scripts and ie-safe images, according to webpagetest, make that 43 HTTP requests uncached, and a sinful 38 for repeats. Now, those numbers are a more respectable 21 and 16, and over the next few weeks I plan to trim more.

Analyse Your Sites HTTP Requests

.. in a snap.

Head over to the superb online utility Webpagetest, run detailed analysis and check back here for how to improve on those looong server queries.

If you've got a site and the last paragraph is unclear, then fix a feed because I'll be explaining exactly what it means, and how you can do similarly – improving pageload, usability, perhaps enhancing SEO and certainly not discouraging traffic, in a post or three coming soon.

If you do know what the heck I'm on about, you'll appreciate that cutting HTTP requests is good all round; from bandwidth saving, user experience and, who knows, maybe it's an element of the Google algorithm – if not, maybe it should be?

Anyhow, and otherwise, here's a summary of Guvnr's new features:-

  • core images condensed in a sprite.png – see image above. ¡Que guapa!
  • guv-specific javascripts minified and combined, including for relevant WordPress plugins
  • css minified and combined, including for relevant WordPress plugins
  • new homepage navigation images, juiced up with jQuery
  • improved search functionality
  • tweaks to my web server's config file, nginx.conf
  • tweaks to this site's virtual host (vhost) file

In the pursuit of blogsellence, as I say, I'll post up some tutorial guides about this lot when the VPS Bible, together with appendices, is put to bed.

I hope you like the new look, and the improved functionality. Either way, let me know. Found a bug? .. please let me know!

PS I know I've been a bit scant over the last couple of weeks, posts-wise. Had a bit on but have made a note to do better 🙂 Just thought you'd like to know.



About the Author:

Olly Connelly (yeah, that's me) blogs at, polices WordPress security at and helps noobs build web servers at, so if you've got sleeping problems you know where to come.


  1. Blog Hosts  June 27, 2009

    The HTTP protocol version matters for receiving the right response from the web server.

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