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Internet speed

MASSIVE performance differences between HTTP and HTTPS

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2: Seeker

Hi all.

 

I’m hoping someone can offer some suggestions on the following problem I’ve come across. I’ll preface this by saying I’ve worked in IT for longer than I care to remember, and have done more than my fair share of troubleshooting networking issues, so I'm posting here as I'm stumped.

 

So, I’ve had my Gigafast 900Mbps service activated this week, and overall I’m very happy, but I’ve noticed something odd when doing the obligatory speed tests that we all do when we get a new shiny fast connection 😊

 

It seems that performance – especially noticeable with downloads and speed tests – is MUCH slower from sites running HTTPS than it is over HTTP. As more and more sites now switch to HTTPS, this is very noticeable.

 

Running a few of the well-known speed tests (eg www.speedtest.net, www.thinkbroadband.com, etc), my speeds are topping out around 350Mbps, 400Mbps if I’m lucky. Obviously that doesn’t seem right. They all run over HTTPS.

 

So then I ran Ookla’s command line speed test (https://www.speedtest.net/apps/cli) and that consistently maxes out my connection, hitting 850-900Mbps every time. Their Windows 10 app does the same.

 

Thinkbroadband’s default speed test runs over HTTPS (https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest), but they also provide one that runs over HTTP (http://labs2.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/) . Again, the HTTP option gives me results in the 800Mbps + range.

 

http://openspeedtest.com/ is another one that’s HTTP, with an option to run an HTTPS test (https://openspeedtest.com/?ref=SSL-OST-Results), and again the differences are HUGE – 700Mbps + over HTTP, vs 150Mbps over HTTPS.

 

I also see similar poor performance when downloading large files, eg ISOs from MSDN.

 

I know that HTTPS does carry some overhead, but obviously nowhere near the differences I’m seeing here.  

 

Further info –

  • This is on a Windows 10 PC, latest updates
  • I’m using a wired connection, direct to the router, not wireless
  • I’ve tried with 3 different 1Gbps NICs (one built-in to the motherboard, and 2 different PCI-E cards), each with different chipsets
  • LAN performance is fine – copying a large file from one PC to another runs at almost full 1Gbps
  • I get the same results whether I use the Vodafone router or my own ASUS RT-AX58U
  • I’ve also tried different DNS servers – 8.8.8.8, 1.1.1.1 – same results
  • I’ve tried different network cables – same results
  • I've tried different browsers - Chrome, Firefox, Edge (Chromium based) - same results.

 

So, has anyone else had the same issue with HTTPS vs HTTP performance?

 

Can anyone replicate the issue using the different testers I’ve mentioned?

 

Any suggestions are welcome!

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4 REPLIES 4
Highlighted
9: Established

Hi

Daft idea.......

 

Another OS run from a USB stick  https://linuxmint.com/download.php

 

Just to eliminate any W10 overheads?

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9: Established

Hi

https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/http-vs-https/

 

Talking about speed, it is faster than HTTPS because of its simplicity. It is a stateless protocol and does not recalls anything of the preceding web session.Talking about speed, it is slower than HTTP. This is because establishing a secure session takes up some processing time.

 

There are suggestions that data is not cached and needs fetching every time, compression can also be introduced causing a delay.  These are delays, not actual speed reductions, but time to fetch, encrypt and compress, while http just pushes the data down the pipe.

 

There are also certain available ways to improve HTTPS performance.

This includes:

  • HTTP/2: With HTTP/2, HTTPS is only getting faster thus offsetting any performance overheads. The main benefits and features of HTTP/2 include multiplexing & concurrency, header compression, stream dependencies, and server push.

 

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2: Seeker

Thanks for the suggestion re Linux - that was a good one that I hadn't tried yet.

 

However, after someone replied to a similar post I made elsewhere, it seems it was my AV software - Sophos Home was throttling SSL.

 

As soon as I took it off, problem solved!

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9: Established
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