SSL which is known as the Secure Sockets Layer is the fundamental protocol which is used for securing the online connections. It is used for encryption of the sensitive and confidential information such as login details and credentials, credit card information, email information, and passwords of various accounts. SSL has been used recently for achieving stronger encryption standard, the TLS or Transport Layer Security, which is commonly known as the “SSL/TLS” which is simply referred to as the “SSL”. There is a high need to increase the SSL handshake performance.
What Makes the Performance of SSL Slow?
SSL imposes an additional burden on the web performance, but it is imperative to understand how this is possible. The main source of the performance of the SSL lies on the fact that it imposes a certain burden on the initial setup of a new connection. To initiate the exchange of any web data or information, an SSL session has to be negotiated between the client and the server. If there are multiple resources on a particular web page under different domains, the browser of the visitors have to negotiate the SSL session for each domain. As the SSL session would require at least four exchanges, the problem of irregular or slow connections with high loss of data rates which gets amplified over HTTPS.
How to Increase the Speed of the SSL?
SSL or TLS has gained great importance in the field of e-commerce, business websites, and social media networks that deal with sensitive and confidential information. The website owners or the online bloggers can be benefited by this as this ensures the security of the visitors coming on the website. This increases the confidence of the visitors to their websites and thus can help with the required conversions. However, every online service is not able to provide the secure SSL/TLS connection and accelerated performance. Hence, it is indispensable for the webmasters or the bloggers to optimize their TLS-secured or SSL-secured website to attain the best speed or performance of the connection. Here are some useful tips to increase the speed of the SSL session:
Select the Certificates from Valid Sources
It is necessary to register your website with an authenticated SSL certificate. It is essential to ensure that the certificates acquired from the less reliable or trusted sources might prevent the desired users from accessing your website due to certain security reasons. This will directly affect the traffic to your website and the estimated conversion rate would also be affected in an adverse manner. Hence, the experts suggest that the webmasters obtain the SSL certificate from a secure and reputable service which specializes in providing the relevant online security.
SSL Handshake Performance Should Be Optimized
Usually, the TCP connection makes use of the “three-way” handshake in order to ensure a secure connection. Using this method, the client sends a request for connection. Then, he/she receives an acknowledgement of the same which is then followed by another acknowledgement by the sender’s end. In certain cases, the handshake process would require an additional step to identify the most compatible method for encryption and verification of the information. This would result in increased latency and can thus, serve greatly in affecting the experience of the users with a slow connection.
The SSL handshake performance can be optimized in several ways. Some of them include caching the resources to domain sharding. However, as suggested by the experts, maintaining a constant connection is considered as one of the most effective ways to improve the latency in the TLS-secured or SSL-secured connections very significantly.
Enable Persistent Connections
A persistent connection is the one which allows multiple user requests to be made possible in a single connection. Usually, when a user visits a particular secure site multiple times within a fraction of few minutes, it is required to initiate a new SSL connection every time. With the use of a importunate connection, the SSL connection needs to be initiated only for once which thereby, eliminates the need to include the additional handshakes.
A persistent connection which also goes by the name “keep-alive” technique, can be activated on your system by adding “Connection: Keep-Alive” to the HTTP header. This can be got in the computer system’s web server configuration file. The webmasters can search for the “Connection: Close” setting and then, replace it with the “Connection: Keep Alive” setting.
Make Use of a CDN
Many significant websites employ the use of CDNs to improve their speed of the page loading. The basic advantage offered by the use of a CDN is that is can significantly improve the SSL/TLS performance and overall speed. This tends to have a greater positive effect on the overall performance like the optimization of the TLS Handshake by connecting the targeted users to the nearest physical server and then, enabling and maintaining a persistent connection with the main host.
As more websites are making of the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol and its successor, the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. With the use of the SSL/TLS protocol, the webmasters are enabled to encrypt the data and vital information of the targeted visitors to ensure their security. Google is now making the use of the presence of the SSL/TLS to improve the website’s rankings, the incoming traffic and the increased conversion rates.
With the importance of the SSL/TLS in the website performance, it is necessary to optimize and accelerate the speed and SSL handshake performance which varies from one server to another. Some more famous techniques as given by the Internet experts to optimize the performance of the SSL can be summarized as:
- Session Caching: It uses the ssl_session_cache directive to cache the necessary parameters which are used when each new connection with SSL/TLS has been secured.
- IDs or Session Tickets: These are used to store information related to the specific SSL/TLS protocols in an ID or ticket such that a particular connection can be reused in a smooth manner without the new need of any handshaking.
- OCSP Stapling: It is used to cut short the handshaking time by enabling the caching of SSL/TLS certificate information.