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With so many visitors coming from search or social media, the homepage is obviously not the first things they see on most websites. And while some hit the home button - maybe 1 in 10 - most don't, they either click on a link or the back button.

For those who do click on the homepage, it would be great if it would load faster, so rel="prefetch" looks like a home run (ignore the pun). There's a much better chance that the hp actually gets to be seen.

However, as homepages tend to be rather bulky, there's a lot of bandwidth required in the process. With fixed connections this may not be much of a problem, but how about mobile? It does seem bad etiquette (to say the least) to load a reader's internet connection much more than strictly necessary.

How do mobile browsers deal with prefetch? Do they execute it at all? Do they make a difference between wifi and data plan? Or, simply put, should this be done or rather left out?

  • Why would you prefetch something that only 1 in 10 users goes to? Prefetch is best when you know where the majority of the users are going next. – Stephen Ostermiller Sep 11 '18 at 17:36
  • On my largest site, only 4.4% of users visit the home page not as a landing page. That is fewer than 1 in 20. – Stephen Ostermiller Sep 11 '18 at 17:38
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A good article to read on this topic is: Link Prefetching FAQ

Another possibility that may help is setting up caching in general using the .htaccess file:

# Allows and Expires Caching
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access 2 days"
</IfModule>
  • 1
    Thanks, I did read that, but it was last updated in 2003 - no mobile internet yet, different data plans - and nothing specific on homepages anyway. – Lucian Davidescu Jul 29 '16 at 0:46
  • 1
    Sorry for the outdated article. – Michael Moriarty Jul 29 '16 at 1:14

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