Facebook has introduced a new Like Box plugin that has been completely rewritten so it loads two to four times faster than the previous version.

This particular plugin can be added to your website to help you attract new Likes for your Facebook Page. Visitors are able to see how many fans have connected to your Page and which of their friends have Liked it. It’s especially handy because people can read recent posts from your Page and Like it without leaving your website.

While popular, Facebook’s Like Box plugin has been known to significantly slow down load times on sites, especially for those on slower connections. Several changes were made to the plugin to help it load faster, including smaller components, smaller CSS and JavaScript size, and better packaging.

Today, the social network announced that, in its simplest form (no stream, no friend faces), the Like Box has dropped from 15 resources to four, loads four times faster, and is only 46K instead of 245K. That means the plugin now loads in 0.5 seconds compared to 2.3 seconds. Similar tweaks were made to more advanced configurations as well.

If you’re already using Facebook’s Like Box, you won’t have to make any changes to run the new version. If you’d like to learn more about how to create one for your website, more information can be found on Facebook’s Developer’s site.

[Via: The Next Web, Image credit: Ana Patícia Almeida]