If you are currently using Google Chrome web browser on your Windows/Linux/Mac OS X based desktop computer OR on Android/iOS powered mobile or tablet device, then you can easily reduce your Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G LTE data usage by up to 50% using it and browse the web more faster. Let’s check out in this post how to do so?
The usage can be reduced by using data compression proxy, which allows your computer or mobile device to directly connect with an optimization server of Google running in one of its data centre. Once connected all your non-encrypted HTTP requests are relayed over this connection.
When the proxy server receives your request for rendering a webpage on your computer or mobile device, it first downloads the webpage onto its hard drive and then optimizes it using open source Page speed libraries. The optimised webpage is now sent to your computer or mobile device, where it is downloaded and any type of script execution (if any) takes place.
If you are going to use this feature, then keep following things in mind:
- All encrypted HTTPS requests are routed directly to the destination server and the proxy server is bypassed completely. This means that when you are trying to browse your bank’s secure website, your requests will not go through Google’s proxy servers in any case. Even when you type your bank account’s username and password, credit or debit card number, CVV code etc. on a secure webpage, then these entered details will also go directly to the destination server and will never pass through the proxy server.
- There is no need to sign in to your Google account to use the compression feature.
- If you are trying to browse a webpage using incognito mode, then the proxy server will again be bypassed completely.
SPDY (also known as/pronounced as SPeeDY) is an open networking protocol developed by developers at Google for transporting web content. The protocol is currently supported by Chromium, Firefox and Opera web browser and the upcoming HTTP/2.0 (HTTP network protocol) is also based on this protocol.
Whenever possible the connection between your computer or mobile device and the proxy server is made over SPDY protocol. If the connection cannot be made over this protocol, then a regular HTTP/1.1 is used for establishing a proxy connection.
By using SPDY, the proxy server is able to multiplex multiple requests and response streams over a single TCP connection. It helps in reducing the load latency of a webpage and improving its web security. SPDY also enables intelligent request and response prioritization between the streams.
In an experiment performed some years back, SPDY protocol can itself reduce the page load time by 23% on cellular networks!
How the content is optimized?
Images: A good amount of bandwidth is required when your computer or mobile device starts loading/downloading images present in a webpage. The optimization server of Google converts and transcode all images into WebP format, whose file size is lesser than other popular formats like JPEG, PNG and GIF.
The proxy server also compresses certain images using the new WebP lossless format and tries to optimize the quality of each image based on your computer’s/mobile device’s screen resolution and pixel density.
How to enable Data Compression in Google Chrome?
For Windows/Linux/Mac OS X
Assuming Chrome web browser is already installed on your computer, head over to this page on Web Store and install the unofficial Data compression Proxy add-on for your browser. Once the add-on has been successfully installed, its icon will be added at the top right corner of your browser:
When browsing the web, GREEN coloured icon indicates that the compression proxy is working without any problem, while a RED coloured icon indicates that either there is some problem with the proxy OR the proxy can’t compress the elements of a requested webpage at all (may show you an error: This page cannot be loaded via the Chrome Data Compression Proxy. Try reloading the page.):
You can always disable the add-on by clicking on it once – Useful if you are experiencing problems while browsing certain websites. Once disabled, the icon’s colour will change to RED.
How to know if the compression proxy is working?
If you want to know whether the compression proxy is working successfully for a particular webpage or on your computer’s web browser, then you can do following things:
1. If you check the HTTP headers off a particular webpage whose elements are compressed using data compression proxy, then you will see Via: 1.1 Chrome Compression Proxy written for a particular element:
Note: If you see an error which says No requests captured. Reload the page see detailed information on the network activity, then try refreshing the webpage once.
2. Type chrome://net-internals/#bandwidth in the URL bar and Press Enter. You will be able to see your overall data savings in KB and percentage savings:
Above also indicates that the compression proxy is successfully working in your browser.
For Android and iOS
In order to make use of data compression proxy on Android and iOS powered mobile device, all you need to do is to follow these simple steps:
1. Launch Google Chrome web browser on your device and go to its settings:
Note: Chrome browser comes pre-installed on almost all new Android devices. If it’s not present in your device, then try to download and install it from Play Store using this link. Keep in mind that the application is incompatible on very old Android devices.
2. On settings page, tap on Bandwidth Management under Advanced:
3. When the Bandwidth Management page opens, tap on Reduce data usage and then turn on the slider present in front of it:
4. It’s all done. Start browsing the web normally and whenever you visit the above page again, you will be able to see your percentage data savings after compression along with a savings graph.
- Even after enabling compression proxy, the inbuilt safe web browsing feature of Chrome will continue to function. This means that when you are surfing the world wide web, you will remain safe from rogue websites which are used for phishing, distributing malware etc.
- When using compression proxy, all DNS lookups are performed by the proxy server.
- The compression proxy can also be used to access blocked websites, as all your webpages are coming from Google’s web server, instead of the regular server of blocked site! Keep in mind that you won’t be able to unblock any website using compression proxy, if your ISP/network administrator has blocked all Google/compression proxy servers.
- If you are surfing the web specifically for downloading images, then you may want to disable the compression proxy or use some other browser, as otherwise low quality compressed images will be downloaded onto your device/computer.
- If you are a Webmaster then the compression proxy always sends the IP addresses of your visitor’s computer/mobile device to your server via X-Forwarded-For header.
- If your visitors are accessing your website using the compression proxy and you do not want your website to get served via it, then you are required to enter Cache-Control: no-transform header to your webpages.
- The source code for compression proxy for desktop can be found here.