It’s very important to speed up your web sites so you don’t loose the users.
That being said, many tasks in the checklists from Yahoo or Google are quite complex and are hard to grasp for people who didn’t work all their life configuring Apache or digging deep into the depths of HTTP.
To help this, I created a drop-in .htaccess file that will enable gzipping and long term expiration (helping with unique URLs for your assets).
Gzip-ing and infinite (1 year is long enough) expiration are enabled right away.
In order for you to not have problems with cached items (infinite expirations are good, not bad), you’ll have to change URLs of all your static assets next time you change them. All you need to do is to add .XXX in front if file extension and URL will be unique (still pointing at your file, thanks to mod_rewrite rules above).
So, for example, if you have logo.png, all you need to do next time you change it is to link to it as logo.1.png and next time logo.2.png and so on, this way cache will not be used and you will no longer have cacheing problem:
<img src="/logo.2.png" alt="Company Logo"/>
Go ahead and put it in the root of your site and let me know how it works for you.
P.S. it assumes that you use Apache 2.x and your hosting company configured apache to have mod_rewrite, mod_gzip and mod_expires modules, if they did not, just ask them, they should be able to do that easily.