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Add SPDY Support to Apache Server with New Version of mod_spdy

Back in December 2011, Google launched a beta of mod_spdy, an Apache module that adds SPDY support to the Apache HTTPD server. Now, today, the Google developers team launching a updated version of mod_spdy to try on your live web server.

“We’ve tested mod_spdy using locally-mirrored pages from popular websites, and have seen significant speedups compared to serving via plain HTTPS – comparable to the gains that Google’s own servers achieve by using SPDY – with no extra configuration and negligible effect on Apache’s CPU and memory usage. In extreme cases, for example, pages with many small resources, we’ve seen mod_spdy reduce load times by more than 50%,” said Scott Knaster in a google developers blog psot.

mod_spdy: Apache SPDY module

“To install mod_spdy on your Apache 2.2 server, simply download the appropriate mod_spdy Debian or RPM package for your platform, or compile from source. Once installed, your Apache server will begin using SPDY to communicate with SPDY-compatible browsers (e.g. Google Chrome, Android, and recent versions of Firefox),” Knaster explains.

“SPDY runs over HTTPS, so any HTTP (non-HTTPS) traffic on your site will not be affected by mod_spdy. Further, since SPDY requires server-side support for the NPN TLS HTTPS extension, which is not available in most current Apache environments, a version of mod_ssl with NPN support is included with the mod_spdy packages,” Knaster said.

Mod-spdy in Apache

Enabling SPDY for your site improves performance in several ways:

  • The server and browser can compress HTTP headers, saving bytes on the network.
  • Multiple resource requests can be multiplexed over a single TCP connection, saving connections on the network.
  • The browser can request all page resources at once instead of a few at a time, which reduces the number of network round-trips needed between server and client.

Watch the video below to see the potential speedup from mod_spdy:

Here is mod_spdy Architectural overview:

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