The process of getting a piece of web content to the end user is actually quite complex — a lot of moving parts in the form of different software, different hardware, different levels of page complexity, network constraints, and so on all have to click together smoothly to make a web page appear. The fast, complete and personal content showing up on a phone or tablet takes a whole host of behind-the-scenes “magic” that just has to work.
Every page load experience is different, depending on the combination of these factors. No doubt if you rely on your end user being satisfied with his or her experience with your website, on mobile or otherwise, you know conversion is directly related to performance regardless of platform. And yet, with this complex mosaic of factors comprising web content delivery, there’s no such thing as a panacea that yields immediate and dramatic performance results.
Thus, every little bit (milliseconds!) counts: finding ways to get a bit higher cache hit rate, to optimize the cache, to make personalized pages load just a little bit faster and to reap incremental and often small performance gains all add up to much larger gains, such as better user experiences that lead to customer loyalty and higher conversion rates or gains in ad revenue. In recent weeks we’ve been looking at some of the different tactics you can put to work immediately to optimize your mobile content delivery, and as usual, some strategies are deceptively simple.
One surprising tactic for securing speedier mobile content delivery is something that, on the surface, is a bit counterintuitive. Content sent over encrypted TLS connections actually gets delivered faster on mobile than unencrypted connections.
Funny thing: with mobile networks, pretty much everything about content delivery is out of your control. In this environment, throughput problems are common because there is a limited amount of spectrum available, and every device wants to find time to communicate on that network. Obviously, this means that the more users (or devices) demanding time on the network, the slower the performance.
However, every mobile carrier puts performance-enhancing proxies in place within their networks more than a decade ago. They did this because data was more scarce and caching saved bandwidth. It was not done to boost performance but to reduce bytes. Unencrypted traffic traveling through these proxies slows down because of overall congestion of the network, but the very same content with TLS encryption moves much faster.
Bottom line: To reap performance gains fairly easily, moving over to TLS will go a long way toward solving the slowdown and getting your traffic moving faster on mobile networks.