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does anyone know of a way to get nginx (or any other method) to minify html output on the fly? It seems straightforward to me and can shave a few kb off and help speed up the site.

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I'm not sure of an extension that has this capability, but, is it worth it? There will be a CPU impact on each request, it means your website will need more CPU as your load increases. I assume you're already using the gzip extension to compress the text before you send it, so, all whitespace will be removed as part of that process. You can also pre-gz your files, that will save CPU time on each request. – Andrew Taylor Jan 14 '11 at 13:42
@AndrewTaylor, so that's why you'd better cache it afterwards. – poige May 2 '12 at 14:35
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Google Pagespeed for Nginx does minification, and a bunch of other things. However when I benchmarked it didn't make enough of a difference to bother with, given my site was already well optimized. For sites that aren't optimized already it would probably make a significant difference.

There's a tutorial on how to get Nginx/Pagespeed working here. You have to build it from source. I tend to keep the linked website updated, if I happen to touch that area, so it may be more up to date than this answer below.

cd /home/ec2-user
mkdir nginx-build
cd nginx-build
service nginx stop
yum groupinstall "Development Tools"
yum install pcre-devel zlib-devel openssl-devel
tar -xzf nginx-1.9.11.tar.gz
tar -xzf ngx_cache_purge-2.3.tar.gz
tar -xzf v0.29.tar.gz
tar -xzf    # Google Pagespeed, optional
wget${ngx_version}   # Google Pagespeed, optional
cd ngx_pagespeed-release-   # Google Pagespeed, optional
wget${ngx_version}.tar.gz   # Google Pagespeed, optional
cd ../nginx-1.9.9
# Note that I have no idea what the next line does but it was in the official guide
# Safe option, slower, lots of modules included
./configure --prefix=/etc/nginx --sbin-path=/usr/sbin/nginx --conf-path=/etc/nginx/nginx.conf --error-log-path=/var/log/nginx/error.log --http-log-path=/var/log/nginx/access.log --pid-path=/var/run/ --lock-path=/var/run/nginx.lock --http-client-body-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/client_temp --http-proxy-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/proxy_temp --http-fastcgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/fastcgi_temp --http-uwsgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/uwsgi_temp --http-scgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/scgi_temp --user=nginx --group=nginx --with-http_ssl_module --with-http_realip_module --with-http_addition_module --with-http_sub_module --with-http_dav_module --with-http_flv_module --with-http_mp4_module --with-http_gunzip_module --with-http_gzip_static_module --with-http_random_index_module --with-http_secure_link_module --with-http_stub_status_module --with-http_auth_request_module --with-threads --with-stream --with-stream_ssl_module --with-http_slice_module --with-mail --with-mail_ssl_module --with-file-aio --with-ipv6 --with-http_v2_module --with-cc-opt='-O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m64 -mtune=generic' --add-module=/tmp/ngx_cache_purge-2.3 --add-module=/tmp/headers-more-nginx-module-0.29 --with-http_realip_module --add-modeule=../ngx_pagespeed-release-
make && make install
make clean  (NB: optional)
service nginx start
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My recommendation: forget minify and use the gzip module. It will work better and accomplish the same goal. But, as of course, you can do it. There's a 3rd party module named strip, especially for this topic.

Example gzip Configuration:

# Context:  http, server, location

    gzip            on;
    gzip_min_length 1000;
    gzip_proxied    expired no-cache no-store private auth;
    gzip_types      text/plain application/xml;
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Good find. Doesn't look production-ready, though, so I second your recommendation of using gzip instead - saves much more than minifying the HTML. – pjmorse May 2 '12 at 14:07

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