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SSL Pages On Website Very Slow - But Only for Some People

Hi all,

We are having a really odd issue that I can not fix at all. I really need some help if you could.

The website is a wordpress\woocommerce website that works really great. However for the paypal plugin to work the checkout needs to have SSL forced. We have a SSL cert for the site which appears to be working fine BUT for some users it is taking up to 40 seconds for the page to load. The rest of the site is fast as it should be, but checkout is slow for some people.

This is what we know and have tried so far.....

1. If someone uses a device at one location and checkout is slow, they can take this same device to another internet connection and it works just fine, and vice versa. We have recreated this scenario more than once.

2. If I force SSL on the whole site then we get a redirect loop for everyone and the page wont load, however the back end does loads fine over ssl.

3. If i enable another theme, say twentyfourteen then everything loads fine over ssl for everyone, from any internet location.

Ok, so i think we have narrowed it down to the theme, but the theme creators are basically saying they have no idea and its not their problem.

I just don't understand how ssl works fine for some internet connections and doesn't for others.

The site is on a dedicated CentOS 6\WHM server.

Thank you for your time.

Avatar of Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine
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A variety of problems immediately apparent when looking at the web console:

"NetworkError: 404 Not Found -"

"downloadable font: download failed (font-family: "FontAwesome" style:normal weight:normal stretch:normal src index:1): status=2147746065 source:"

"NetworkError: 404 Not Found -"

When I get to your encrypted page, some elements are not called with https so you have a mix of secure and insecure elements.  This will slow the browser down.

In general, the pages are very heavy with scripts and images and very slow to load files.  The index page (non-ssl) took almost 10 seconds to fully load.  What kinds of caching or CDN are you using?
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Hi Jason,

We are not using any caching or cnd solutions. I will look into those, however 40 seconds is a long time and only for some users???

If you are not caching, get W3 Total Cache and activate it and start.  Also resolve the 404s noted above
Seems your page needs some cleanup for performance anyway.
Doing that first would probably improve things.
-- seems you have more than 30 files of css and js EACH, some unification / minification would probably improve things quite a lot
-- ... and you have lots of css and js embedded also... regroup them in external files, one for css and one for js
-- some of your javascript code could probably be loaded LAST, which would improve perceived load time: move just before </body> anything that does not change directly the DOM of your file
-- you have lots of css code conditional on IE versions, but again in several places: regroup all the corresponding css into a singl css file and have only one or two conditional codes

I would recommend that you use the "Mobile Perf" javascript bookmarklet (works with all usual browsers) you will find at and then use recommandations from its "DOM Monster" and "Yslow" links

You should also resolve the http/ https issue: convert everything to https so that the browsers feel more comfortable
Hi guys,

thank you both for your help. I have enabled Gzip on the server and installed caching. End users have reported a speed up in performance on the site as has Google Page Insgihts, so genuinely thank you for that.

However the original issue still persists and (please correct me if im wrong) it has nothing to do with page loading speeds per say, and here is why.....

1. 40 Seconds to loads Checkout when force SSL in enabled, but only for some users. BUT same users everytime
2. If i change themes then all loads well for everyone.

This is what I don't understand.....

1. If it was a problem with the website then surley it would be them same for everyone
2. If it was a problem with the theme it would be the same for everyone

Also, we have have tried people with high end PCs on fast broabbands and its 40 seconds, take that hardware to slower broadband and it loads fine.
Could you check which browsers and versions are using the "slow people" (well, and the others too for comparing)?

The shippig calculator does not work for France, so I cannot check the ssl paypal.

B-) but if I get a valid test address in UK, I can check on my machines

So the slow people(or at least one of them are using IE 11 on Win 7. 21Meg BB, quad core Pc. We had that machine at our site to test it and it ran like a dream.

Ive found a bunch of these in apache error logs. Does this shed any light? LOADS of them.

[client] Handler for (null) returned invalid result code 70008, referer:
You say that the problem did not exist when running at our site, but outside.
Anything from the proxy or the firewall?
Yeah the machine loaded the checkout page fine at our office.
Client took the PC home and checkout was back to 40 seconds. We have repeated this more than once.

Its just a home network it has been tested from at the clients end, nothing fancy, just BT router.

Is the problem for ALL external web clients?

Since this is https you have a certificate.
The certificate is somehow related to the dns address of the server.
When you test internally, do you use the dns address or a direct ip address, or a different "Dns address" handled by your internal network?
No not for all, I wouldn't like to guess the percentage, but I would say slight less than half.
Also, we are accessing the website offsite ourselves as its hosted on a server in a data centre.

We use the same DNS address as we have tried with the clients its running slow for.
There is a redirect to the site, but this is another domain doing a 403 redirect externally.
this is another domain doing a 403 redirect externally.
so nothing on the site or elsewhere redirects your site, correct?

There is presumably a firewall between the internet and your internal network. Anyway to check if this is involved?

Shooting in the dark:
You said that about 50% of external connections have problem, vs 0% of internal connections. And that in some case a computer works fine in internal but might fail outside. Just to tick the checklist: most of your web clients computers have never been connected on internal network, and problems/ safe are happening independently?

Do the external failure happen on a first (newbie) connexion, or is there no correlation? Same question if user logs out, then later comes back and login, versus the case where they do not explicitly log out and come back later?
so nothing on the site or elsewhere redirects your site, correct?
There are only 2 redirects on the site, the wordpress built in redirect that forces http:// over http://www and redirect to cart after adding something to the basket. Thats it

You said that about 50% of external connections have problem, vs 0% of internal connections
Sorry what i meant here was its about 50/50 on whose having issues across the globe.  Yeah nost of the ones have never been on our network.

Do the external failure happen on a first (newbie) connexion, or is there no correlation?
No correlation im afraid. Also, logged in logged out, makes no difference.

I took a network capture using Microsoft network monitor of my PC and someone whose it is slow for starting the capture just before pressing the checkout button and finishing as soon as its loading with the hope that it may point something obvious. It hasnt for me, would these help in anyway? I
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Bernard Savonet
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Small bug in the css code generated from you sass:
/* line 96, ../sass/lightbox.sass */
.lb-dataContainer {
  margin: 0 auto;
  padding-top: 5px;
  *zoom: 1;

Open in new window

*zoom is css-wrong. Check the sass code that created it

We have narrowed it down to the theme without a doubt, and the theme developeers are un interested in helping. We are just gonna change it. Shame, but so be it.

Thank you for all your help with this.
B-) Thx for the grade and points.
Sorry that all that finally cornered the problem to the theme and that its authors are not interested in this issue.

So that your time is not all wasted, review the advices given for performance: improving performance will give a better experience to your visitors, AND to Google searches