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Using keep-alive connections

  • Keep-alive connections use a single TCP connection to handle multiple HTTP requests and responses.
  • Instead of opening a new TCP connection every time a brower sends a request, keep-alive connections enable clients and servers to communicate more efficiently and use fewer resources.
  • Many performance testing sites, such as GTMetrix, check if keep-alive connections are enabled for a site.
  • If they are disabled, you receive a lower site performance score.
  • If keep-alive conections are disabled for your site, you can easily enable them. To do this, follow these steps:
    • Edit or create an .htaccess file in your site's document root directory.
    • Copy the following lines and paste them into the .htaccess file:
<IfModule mod_headers.c>
    Header set Connection keep-alive
</IfModule>
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    • Save your changes to the .htaccess file. Keep-alive connections are now enabled.
  • To verify that keep-alive connections are enabled, you can examine the raw HTTP headers sent between the browser and web server.
  • To do this, use a browser plugin that displays the raw headers such as Live HTTP headers for Mozilla Firefox, or the Developer Tools feature in Google Chrome.
  • When keep-alive connections are enabled, Apache adds the following line to the HTTP response header:
Connection: Keep-Alive
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