Enable dynamic compression

Dynamic compression automatically compresses responses served by Cloud CDN. The size of the data sent over the network is reduced by 60% to 85% in typical cases.

The size reduction reduces the time it takes to download content. For important assets like stylesheets (CSS), scripts (JavaScript), and video manifests (HLS/DASH), this can reduce page load and video start times.

You can learn more about the benefits of compressing responses in the Web Fundamentals guide.

You can enable compression on a backend service or a backend bucket.

Example use cases

Dynamic compression directly reduces the size of data sent from the Cloud CDN edge to the client. This can directly do the following:

  • Reduce the size of CSS and JavaScript, helping web pages render faster and reducing the time to First Contentful Paint, an important web performance metric.
  • Have a large, positive impact when caching REST API responses, such as JSON payloads. These payloads compress well due to the repeated keys, whitespace, and braces. Caching public APIs for 5-10 seconds is a popular approach to reducing origin load while maintaining the freshness of data.

    Even without caching, compressing these responses can reduce the total bytes sent by up to 90%.

  • Improve playback start time for video delivery and join latency for live streaming. Large live playlists (manifests) have a significant amount of repeated data, including the host + path prefix of each segment, as well as the HLS or DASH playlist metadata. The faster the playlist loads or playlist updates can be downloaded, the less time a client is waiting to parse and start downloading the referenced video segments. HLS and DASH playlists often see a total size reduction of more than 90%.

Before you begin

Make sure that you have the following:

  • A Cloud CDN-enabled backend configured. If you don't have Cloud CDN currently configured, you can follow one of the setup guides.
  • Your backend has compressible content ready to serve, such as web assets or video manifests between 1 KiB and 10 MiB (inclusive).
  • Clients don't rely on fetching partial content with range requests or with strong ETags. These are incompatible with dynamic compression.
  • Clients can handle responses without Content-Length headers. For example, cache misses that Cloud CDN compresses don't have Content-Length headers.
  • The IAM Compute Load Balancer Admin role (roles/compute.loadBalancerAdmin), which is required to make changes to your backend configuration.

Enable compression on a backend service or backend bucket

To enable compression, follow these steps.


Add a new origin

To add and set up a new origin, follow the instructions in Setup overview for the appropriate type of backend. When creating your origin, use the Advanced options section to configure dynamic compression by selecting Automatic in the Compression mode list.

Edit an existing origin

To edit an existing Cloud CDN origin:

  1. In the Google Cloud console, go to the Cloud CDN origins page.

    Go to Cloud CDN origins

  2. Click the origin name that you want to edit, and then click Edit.

  3. In the Origin basics section, click Next.

  4. In the Host and path rules section, click Next.

  5. In the Cache performance section, navigate to Advanced options.

  6. In the Compression mode list, select Automatic.

  7. To apply your changes, click Done.


For backend services, use the gcloud compute backend-services create command or gcloud compute backend-services update command with the --compression-mode flag.

For backend buckets, use the gcloud compute backend-buckets create command or the gcloud compute backend-buckets update command with the --compression-mode flag.

For a new backend service, use the create command:

gcloud compute backend-services create BACKEND_SERVICE_NAME \

For an existing backend service, use the update command:

gcloud compute backend-services update BACKEND_SERVICE_NAME \

For a new backend bucket, use the create command:

gcloud compute backend-buckets create BACKEND_BUCKET_NAME

For an existing backend bucket, use the update command:

gcloud compute backend-buckets update BACKEND_BUCKET_NAME

The compression-mode can be one of the following:

  • AUTOMATIC: Automatically uses the best compression based on the Accept-Encoding header sent by the client. In most cases, this results in Brotli compression being favored.
  • DISABLED (default): Disables compression.


For backend services, use the backendServices.insert method or the backendServices.update method.

For backend buckets, use the backendBuckets.insert method or the backendBuckets.update method.

Use one of the following commands:

POST https://compute.googleapis.com/compute/v1/projects/PROJECT_ID/global/backendServices
PUT https://compute.googleapis.com/compute/v1/projects/PROJECT_ID/global/backendServices/BACKEND_SERVICE
POST https://compute.googleapis.com/compute/v1/projects/PROJECT_ID/global/backendBuckets
PUT https://compute.googleapis.com/compute/v1/projects/PROJECT_ID/global/backendBuckets/BACKEND_BUCKET

Add the following snippet to the JSON request body:

"compressionMode": AUTOMATIC

The compression-mode can be one of the following:

  • AUTOMATIC (recommended): Automatically uses the best compression based on the Accept-Encoding header sent by the client. In most cases, this results in Brotli compression being favored.
  • DISABLED (default): Disables compression.

Within a few minutes, your configuration propagates to all edge locations. Compressible content served from the backend is compressed before being delivered to the client.

Compression modes

The default compression mode is DISABLED.

AUTOMATIC mode allows Cloud CDN to choose the best compression method based on the following:

  • The client's accepted encoding
  • The response's anticipated compression ratio
  • Cloud CDN's compression speed (throughput)

Brotli can yield an additional 10% to 20% reduction in download size for most content types over gzip, with similar decompression performance, making it faster overall when considering download time and decompression speed on the client.

Cloud CDN indicates the chosen compression method as gzip or brotli in the Content-Encoding header in the response.

Cloud CDN determines the compression level to balance total download size and CPU cost on the client. Higher compression levels do not always benefit performance, especially on lower-powered mobile devices.

When Cloud CDN initially compresses content, it removes the Content-Length header from the response; this is necessary to allow the response to be served as quickly as possible because the full content length is unknown until the entire response has been compressed. After a response has been compressed and cached, Cloud CDN might include the Content-Length header in subsequent responses. (For HTTP/1.1 and earlier, Cloud CDN uses Transfer-Encoding: chunked in the response when it doesn't use Content-Length.)

When is a response compressed?

If a request has an Accept-Encoding header that explicitly lists support for either gzip or Brotli algorithms, then uncompressed responses served from the backend (origin) with a Content-Type header that matches the compressible content types are compressed with gzip or Brotli, accordingly. If a request has no Accept-Encoding header, or if it has Accept-Encoding: *, the response is not compressed.

For example, given an Accept-Encoding header in a client request, the response is compressed (or not) according to the information in the following table:

Accept-Encoding request header Response encoding
gzip, compress, br Brotli (br)
deflate Not compressed
deflate, gzip gzip
identity Not compressed
* Not compressed

Compressible content types

Dynamic compression applies to the following MIME types, based on the Content-Type HTTP response header. Responses that don't have a Content-Type response header aren't compressed.

Common content types and their MIME types include the following:

  • HTML content: text/html
  • Stylesheets: text/css
  • JavaScript: application/javascript
  • JSON: application/json
  • HLS playlists: application/x-mpegURL or application/vnd.apple.mpegURL
  • DASH manifests: application/dash+xml

The following table summarizes how the MIME type affects compressibility.

  Compressible MIME types
Exact match application/x-javascript
Pattern match application/*+json

Image and video formats (such as image/jpeg, image/png, and video/mpeg4) are almost always already compressed, so Cloud CDN doesn't compress them. Re-compressing an already compressed response rarely reduces file size, and clients might exhibit unexpected behavior when receiving a response of this kind.

When is a response not compressed?

Dynamic compression doesn't compress a response that has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • The response doesn't have a Content-Type header that matches a compressible content type.
  • It doesn't have a Content-Length header.
  • It has a Content-Encoding header.
  • It's smaller than 1 KiB.

    The time spent compressing and decompressing often offsets any benefits. There's also less content to compress, which can reduce the effectiveness of compression and lead to a lower compression ratio.

  • It's larger than 10 MiB.

  • It has a Cache-Control: no-transform header.

  • It has a Vary: Accept-Encoding header.

Range requests

When Cloud CDN compresses a response, Cloud CDN adds an Accept-Ranges: none header and replaces any existing Accept-Ranges headers. Cache hits for such responses ignore Range headers.

This prevents serving incorrect partial content to clients because there is no way to be sure whether a client expects a range of bytes from the compressed or uncompressed form of a resource.


When dynamic compression compresses a response, any strong ETag headers are weakened, as required by RFC 7232 section 2.3. For example, ETag: "xyzzy" is replaced with ETag: W/"xyzzy".

Vary header

When serving a response that has the potential to be compressed (depending on the request), Cloud CDN adds the Vary: Accept-Encoding header to the response.

Summary of response changes

The following table summarizes the changes that Cloud CDN makes to a response's headers when compression has occurred:

Response header Header value after compression
Content-Encoding Set to gzip or brotli.
ETag Any strong entity tag is replaced with a weakened version, indicated by the prefix W/.
Accept-Ranges Set to the value none.
Content-Length Might be removed entirely, or if present, set to the length of the compressed body content.
Transfer-Encoding For HTTP/1.1 and older protocols, if Cloud CDN removes Content-Length, it adds this header, with its value set to chunked, and chunks the body of the response.


The Cloud CDN logs include a compressionStatus field in the jsonPayload indicating whether the response was compressed by the load balancer as well as the compression type.

  insertId: "1c02hw9g3gjay67"
  jsonPayload: {
    @type: "type.googleapis.com/google.cloud.loadbalancing.type.LoadBalancerLogEntry"
    statusDetails: "response_sent_by_backend"
    cacheId: "IAD-862d661f"
    compressionStatus: "br"


When a response is compressed by Cloud CDN or Cloud Load Balancing, the relevant outbound cache data transfer or outbound internet data transfer (respectively) is measured against the final compressed bytes sent to the client.

If you are serving a large amount of compressible responses, this can result in a reduction in your monthly outbound data transfer fees, as well as increased performance for end users.


When compression is enabled, the existing https/response_bytes_count metric under loadbalancing.googleapis.com reports the compressed response size.

You can expect to see a drop in total response bytes (and outbound data transfer throughput).

If you are serving a large amount of text-based content that compresses well, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or JSON, you might see a large drop in response bytes.

For more information, see Monitoring.

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