https slower than http

Posted on 2003-02-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2007-12-19

I have a webcam on apache that if accessed from http it displays 1 image every second. If accessed thru https it displays 1 image every 3-4 seconds.  Is there some configuration that will speed up the SSL access?

Question by:alexzaleski
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Accepted Solution

samri earned 100 total points
ID: 7985534

I would say that it will be normal for HTTPS access to be slower than HTTP.  Note that connection via HTTPS will be encrypted/decrypted at server and client side -- this will tax some performance. In addition, normal HTTP documents can be cached by server and client, but not stuff that goes thru HTTPS protocol.

However, I could not give an exact figure on how much degration in performance.  But definetely there is.

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Expert Comment

ID: 7986888
Alex -

I would agree entirely with samri - HTTPS requires more overhead on the server and browser side, and therefore will slow the speed of display.

Expert Comment

ID: 7987041
I agree with the above statements.  Also the encrypted form of data bigger than in its unencrypted form.
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Author Comment

ID: 7988437
Of course I agree that SSL/https requires more overhead but don't you think that a picture displaying 1x/sec vs. 1x/3-4 seconds (300%) it quite a lot?

Are there any Apache configs that i can tune?


Expert Comment

ID: 7990387
I don't think there is anything you can do to improve the performance. After all you are encrypting a larger binary file as apposed to a smaller text file.

To prove this;
Create a text file the same size as a binary file and time the two...

I would suspect that the times would be the same or marginally different.


Assisted Solution

tomclegg earned 100 total points
ID: 7991698
The performance hit is not caused by the encryption and decryption processes, unless your client or server is overloaded.  It's more likely that your problem is caused by network latency.

On each connection, the client and server have to "set up a secure connection" which involves several iterations of the client waiting for the server, then the server waiting for the client's response.  Depending on the round-trip time for IP packets between your client and your server, this can add up to a noticeable delay.

(You can test this theory by putting the client and server on the same network.  If I'm right, the delay will become negligible.)

You might also be refreshing two files each time: an HTML file, and an image file.  This effectively makes the above problem twice as bad: the browser won't even start the second connection until the slow part of the first connection is finished.

A workaround is to fetch the HTML page via HTTP and the image via HTTPS.

You could also upgrade all the networks between the client and the server.  :)
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 11709193
Recommendation: split points between samri and tomclegg - I feel that both explanations could be the cause, and since the author didn't come back, no one will be able to tell which was correct.

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