ssl for entire website

Posted on 2012-09-19
Last Modified: 2012-09-23
I heard at one point that it was a resource hog to force https over an entire website.  What is the lastest on this?  What are the potential downfalls of doing this?
Question by:LargeFarva
    1 Comment
    LVL 33

    Accepted Solution

    That is literally true (although not an issue usually in practical terms). An SSL connection (without SSL acceleration) uses, on average, 3x the resources (cpu & memory mostly) as a plain HTTP connection.

    However, that is usually a drop in the ocean compared to overheads due to other resources such as database or executable code (the cached dot-net assemblies for for example are huge, bloated resource hogs that dwarf connection space by an order of magnitude) unless you are running under such a load ratio that there is a queue of connections waiting for a worker thread.

    I would suggest a policy of suck-it-and-see - if you turn it on, and load increases to an amount unacceptable for the load profile, then look at offloading the ssl to a frontend box.

    Otherwise, just let it run, as sales of ssl acceleration for the real world are near-nonexistent these days (the warnings mostly come from an era of poor cpu resource, when handling 2048 bit RSA was a significant load) *except for* large hosting farms, where that CPU is a shared resource that can be more profitably sold to customers if dedicated SSL hardware is used to remove that load from the CPU.

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