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Manual Chapter: Compressing HTTP Responses
Manual Chapter
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Overview: Compressing HTTP responses

An optional feature of the BIG-IP system is the system’s ability to off-load HTTP compression tasks from the target server. All of the tasks that you need to configure HTTP compression, as well as the compression software itself, are centralized on the BIG-IP system. The primary way to enable HTTP compression is by configuring an HTTP Compression type of profile and then assigning the profile to a virtual server. This causes the system to compress HTTP content for any responses matching the values that you specify in the Request-URI or Content-Type settings of the HTTP Compression profile.

Tip: If you want to enable HTTP compression for specific connections, you can write an iRule that specifies the HTTP:compress enable command. Using the BIG-IP system HTTP compression feature, you can include or exclude certain types of URIs or files that you specify. This is useful because some URI or file types might already be compressed. F5 Networks does not recommend using CPU resources to compress already-compressed data because the cost of compressing the data usually outweighs the benefits. Examples of regular expressions that you might want to specify for exclusion are .*\.pdf, .*\.gif, or .*\.html.

Task summary

To configure HTTP data compression, you need to create an HTTP compression type of profile, as well as a virtual server.

Task list

Creating a customized HTTP compression profile

If you need to adjust the compression settings to optimize compression for your environment, you can modify a custom HTTP compression profile.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > HTTP Compression. The HTTP Compression profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New HTTP Compression Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a name for the profile. Names must begin with a letter, and can contain only letters, numbers, and the underscore (_) character.
  4. From the Parent Profile list, select one of the following profiles:
    • httpcompression.
    • wan-optimized-compression.
  5. Select the Custom check box. The fields in the Settings area become available for configuring.
  6. Modify the settings, as required.
  7. Click Finished.
The modified HTTP compression profile is available in the HTTP Compression list screen.

Creating a virtual server for HTTP compression

You can create a virtual server that uses an HTTP profile with an HTTP compression profile to compress HTTP responses.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers. The Virtual Server List screen displays a list of existing virtual servers.
  2. Click the Create button. The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. Type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the Destination setting, in the Address field, type the IP address you want to use for the virtual server. The IP address you type must be available and not in the loopback network.
  5. In the Service Port field, type 80, or select HTTP from the list.
  6. Select http in the HTTP Profile list.
  7. From the HTTP Compression Profile list, select one of the following profiles:
    • httpcompression.
    • wan-optimized-compression.
    • A customized profile.
  8. In the Resources area of the screen, from the Default Pool list, select a pool name.
  9. Click Finished.
The virtual server with an HTTP profile configured with an HTTP compression profile appears in the Virtual Server list.
After you have created a custom HTTP Compression profile and a virtual server, you can test the configuration by attempting to pass HTTP traffic through the virtual server. Check to see that the BIG-IP system includes and excludes the responses that you specified in the custom profile, and that the system compresses the data as specified.
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