Adaptive Acceleration

Accelerate your website with minimal development effort.

Adaptive Acceleration, included with Akamai Ion (which is available as a free trial that enables you to test-drive Adaptive Acceleration), is a feature set that automatically and continuously applies performance optimizations to your website using Akamai's machine learning to determine optimizations. With Adaptive Acceleration, you gain the ability to prioritize what content is visible to the user, reduce the size of critical cached resources, manage third-party content, and discover, identify, and defer unresponsive scripts on your page. And it’s all done with minimal development effort and maintenance.

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Adaptive Acceleration comprises these four features:

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Learning Engine: Automate optimizations with real-user data.

Learning Engine is the heart and soul of Adaptive Acceleration, continuously learning from real-user data—powered by Akamai mPulse—to automatically apply performance optimizations to your website.

To do this, Learning Engine goes through five key steps (see process diagram below):

 

Adaptive Acceleration

Additionally, the engine has the ability to learn your site’s critical-path resources, so it can focus on the key resources needed to render faster by excluding assets that are not critical. For example, Learning Engine can ignore print stylesheets, which are not needed unless the user prints the page.

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Script Management: Manage the impact of third-party scripts.

Script Management

All across the web, JavaScripts continue to grow exponentially in size and frequency, especially those from third parties. (For more on the growth of third-party content, read this illuminating analysis by Akamai’s Paul Calvano.) These third-party scripts—many of which are necessary and helpful—can come from ads, analytics, social media, and various other sources, and can sometimes have a chaotic effect on your site. Note that If you’re curious about your own site, you can try Akamai’s free third-party impact report.

With so many different sources and very little visibility into where these scripts originate or the impact they’re having, there is elevated risk and your page could even be blocked from loading—regardless of how much you trust your third-party script providers.

Akamai Script Management provides that needed real-time visibility into the impact of first- and third-party scripts on your site; it also provides automated protection, based on real-user insights, so you can avoid costly outages and 4x increases in load times.

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Here's a deeper look at three key benefits you get with Script Management:

 

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Gain insight into all scripts on your site

Leveraging real-user monitoring (RUM) data from mPulse, Script Management provides deeper insights into where your scripts are coming and their impact on your site. With these insights, you can:

  • Automatically detect unresponsive third parties on your site and take action without changing your site or making risky config changes

  • Mitigate the performance impact from any scripts on your site, including tag managers, on a case-by-case basis

  • Set up automated actions for when to defer or block scripts

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Single Point of Failure Protection

Script Management constantly monitors for problematic scripts on your site; one specific subset of problematic scripts is known as “single point of failure”, and Script Management has a specific capability to deal with this issue. When you turn on the Single Point of Failure Protection feature, Script Management automatically defers any scripts that exceed your performance threshold so that you can avoid failures.

The Single Point of Failure Protection feature is also adaptive: the user’s network conditions will be automatically considered in determining what the performance threshold should be before deferring scripts. For example, if the user is on a slow connection, the performance threshold will be higher.

To see this feature in action, watch the video clip below. It shows a website on the left (labeled “Original”) which has Script Management’s Single Point of Failure Protection enabled, versus a website on the right which has no such protection and gets hit with a single point of failure (“SPOF”). Note the page load time difference to see how much value this feature can provide.

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Test third-party scripts locally

Applying changes to your production environment before you’ve tested the effects of the changes can be nerve-wracking. With the new Akamai Script Management Policy Tester extension for Chrome, you can experiment with actions like deferring and blocking scripts on your site to see the effect locally in your browser. After discovering what happens when you block and/or defer scripts, you can take appropriate action directly in Script Management.

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Automatic Server Push and Automatic Preconnect: Push and preconnect resources automatically.

Latency is often caused by two particular culprits: Delays in loading necessary resources and establishing third-party connections. Fortunately, you don’t have to build custom logic to avoid these issues. Adaptive Acceleration includes Automatic Server Push and Automatic Preconnect to ensure that necessary resources and third-party connections for page rendering are pushed while the browser and network are idle.

Here’s more on each feature:

 

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Automatic Server Push

Adaptive Acceleration’s Automatic Server Push accelerates pages by proactively pushing key resources during the idle period. Leveraging the Learning Engine feature, critical CSS and JavaScript resources can be determined and—with HTTP/2 priority protocol enabled—you can ensure that these critical resources arrive first. In short, this means that critical objects can be sent to your end users before they’re even requested. To give you even more fine-grain control, these push optimizations can be applied for specific pages or site-wide with the following optional tuning parameters: bandwidth targets, include specific pages, exclude specific pages, and exclude specific resources.

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Automatic Preconnect

Automatic Preconnect accelerates connections to third-party content by starting the connections earlier. The Automatic Preconnect feature analyzes user traffic beacons (courtesy of Akamai mPulse) and identifies third-party hostnames in order to automatically preconnect the browser to necessary third-party hostnames based on user traffic. Because this activity is done in advance, there is a significant reduction in latency when the connections are actually requested. Similar to Automatic Server Push, Automatic Preconnect allows you to create page-specific and site-wide preconnect optimizations, with the following optional tuning parameters: include hosts on specific pages, ignore hosts on specific pages, and exclude specific hosts.

 

Resource Optimizer: Automatically optimize website resources.

Images aren’t the only thing causing your website and mobile app weight to grow. Cached CSS and JavaScript can also lead to heavier pages. Resource Optimizer leverages Zopfli and Brotli to automatically compress, cache, and deliver these files, instantly reducing the overall page weight and transfer size by 5% to 25% over gzip. Depending on browser support, the smallest version of these files will be delivered, with no changes required at origin. If you are already providing Brotli-compressed resources at origin, Akamai also supports Brotli from Origin.

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Getting Started with Adaptive Acceleration

Getting started with Adaptive Acceleration’s automatic performance optimizations requires almost no effort. Simply set up and configure Akamai Ion and then turn on Adaptive Acceleration. Once that’s done, you can select which specific features you wish to use (see below).

 

Getting started with Automatic Server Push, Automatic Preconnect, and/or Resource Optimizer

Simply enable Automatic Server Push, Automatic Preconnect, and/or Resource Optimizer (switch slider buttons to “On”):

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Getting started with Script Management

Simply enable Script Management (switch the slider button to “On”):

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