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Quick way to give your Yahoo! Store a speed boost

If you have a customized Yahoo! Store, chances are you are at least somewhat familiar with the “files library” in the store editor. The “files library” (“lib” for short) is an area where you can store files; all kinds of files such as images, css files, JavaScript files, videos, etc. You can access this area from your editor by clicking the “Files” button in your editor toolbar.

Storing files in the “lib” has many advantages over storing files elsewhere (for example on your web hosting server.) The “lib” is measurably faster than web hosting (any file that comes from http://site.yourdomainname.com/... is hosted on your web hosting account and not in the “files library”.) In addition, all files stored in the “lib” are automatically “gzipped”, meaning they are compressed before sending across the web and decompressed by the browser resulting in a smaller payload – and therefore, faster delivery. But did you know that you can also have your “lib” hosted on a Content Delivery Network (CDN?)

What is a CDN?

A CDN is a network of distributed servers that serve web pages and files based on the geographical location of the user. The idea is that if a visitor lives in New York, for example, and brings up a web page, then if that web page is stored on a server closer to New York then it will “pop up” on the visitor's screen faster than if the same web page was stored on a server in, say, California. Not to mention, that Google can detect if your web site uses a CDN or not, and will assign a different (better) SEO score to your site if it is using a CDN then if it is not.

How can you tell if your “lib” is on a CDN or not?


That's relatively easy. Log into your store editor and in the store manager, look in the far left column of links, under “Edit”. If you see a link there that says “Store Files” (with a “New” icon after it), then your store is already on the CDN. You can stop reading right here :)

How can you have the CDN enabled?

Easy, you just have to ask :) Well, almost. Basically, you have to call Yahoo! Small Business tech support and ask them to switch your file library over to the CDN-based version. The only catch is this: if your store uses any CSS files (and which web site does not?), then you will have to make sure BEFORE the switch-over that none of those CSS files include relative URLs pointing to files in the lib. So the CSS files should have nothing like this:

url(/lib/yhst-######/some-image.gif);

All such relative URLs should be changed to absolute URLs like

url(http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/yhst-#####/some-image.gif);

How much speed boost can I expect from this?

That's hard to tell, but probably nothing very dramatic. Unless you have an extremely poorly optimized and/or built store whose pages come up noticeably slowly, then using a CDN to serve up your layout images and external files will most likely not be noticeable for a human. However, it will be noticed by Google... And who doesn't like to make Google feel happy, right?

So go ahead and if you feel up to it, review your CSS files and give your store a quick speed boost. Or, if you'd rather have a professional take care of the whole thing for you, let us know and for a nominal fee we can do this for you. More info here: http://www.ytimes.com/yahoo-store-cdn.html

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