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What Is a CSS Compressor?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Cascading style sheets (CSS) programming allows website owners to make designs and set colors, and a CSS compressor is a program that shrinks this coding. When most people make a CSS file, they type in more words or characters than are really needed, and a CSS compressor removes these unnecessary characters. The creators sometimes add comments to the CSS, and the compressor will normally remove or shorten these. Most compressors have a comprehension level that users can select, and this will determine how easy it is for a person to read the CSS. By limiting the amount of characters in CSS code, website owners may notice better loading and less bandwidth use.

When people manually code their CSS, they normally add more characters than are really needed. For example, when people specify padding in CSS, they may add four lines for padding on each side, but only one line is really needed. A CSS compressor takes such instances and shrinks the CSS to the smallest possible amount.

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Some people place comments in their CSS. These comments may just be for fun, or they may be of great importance to website owners. Regardless of why they are placed in CSS, they require more coding and, even though the comments are not seen by visitors, it will still take longer for the website to load. When a CSS compressor is used, it will either entirely remove such comments or, if users request, the compressor may keep a portion — or several characters — from the comments.

When it comes to optimizing CSS for speed, it should be made as one large block that uses CSS abbreviations and limits the coding to the minimum amount of characters needed. At the same time, this is very hard for people to read, and it may make edits difficult. This leads most CSS compressor programs to have a compression level, and it may offer some leeway so people can still read the coding with ease.

The only thing a CSS compressor does is take away letters and numbers, and the CSS file itself typically will shed only a small amount of digital weight. At the same time, websites are meant to be light, and loading a small CSS file thousands of times a month can eat up bandwidth. By compressing the file, most website owners will see their website loading faster, and bandwidth usage will typically decrease.

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