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I am the founder and CEO of Catchpoint. The Catchpoint vision is to provide the best IT analytics & intelligence to help companies improve their end user performance, and keep an eye on their infrastructure and vendors. Before Catchpoint, I spent 10+ years at DoubleClick and Google, where I was responsible for Quality of Services, buying, building, deploying and using various internal and external monitoring solutions to keep an eye on the DART infrastructure delivering billions of transactions a day using throusands of servers, routers . . . HP Openview, Sitescope, SMARTS, Adlex, Coradiant, Gomez & Keynote are some of the products we used. Thus the interest of building something in this space! Mehdi is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 46 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

A Web Performance Broken Promise

08.08.2012
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This is a fictitious conversation, I envisioned yesterday between a big e-commerce company and their CDN provider.

Dear CDN, when you approached me many years ago, you promised me web performance, speed, reliability and a headache free content delivery system. 

Today I happened to be on the phone with Catchpoint and they showed me how slow my sites are. They showed me a filmstrip where for 1.2 seconds all I saw was a beautiful white background. I do not understand?!?!?!

While viewing the waterfall, they highlighted that the HTTP connections were 1.0 – No Keep Alive, thus a new TCP connection for every request (ouch we have 99). And the cherry on the cake was that 49 requests worth 700kb of Js, CSS… were not compressed. Now I understand why delivering that 100kb CSS file can contribute to viewing the white background for 1 second.

So I am confused and angry. You broke your promise! Oh and btw I can also reduce my bandwidth once I am going to force your to use GZIP. Or maybe this is why you do not want turn on GZIP? So you can keep milking me?

You broke your promise! You Broke my Web Perf Heart! ”

No seriously, back in 2011 we wrote about the Web Performance Resolution for 2012 where GZIP and KEEP ALIVE were a must and the best WPO for the buck!

I do not understand why either they do not have this on by default or run an audit on their customers’ configs and turn that on! I am scratching my head! Here we are talking about HTTP 2.0, SPDY, Mobile… but we are still back to the basics: GZIP & KEEP ALIVE!

To all Publishers, E-Commerce sites and anyone who uses a CDN and cares about web performance find a tool, ANY TOOL (like this Gzip checker , or CURL or WGET….) and make a request to one of your CSS and JS file and verify compression is ON. Otherwise, call your CDN account rep / sales engineer and tell them ” YOU BROKE YOUR PROMISE! YOU ARE NOT MAKING MY SITE FAST, YOU ARE SLOWING IT DOWN AND I AM PAYING YOU FOR THAT!!!!”

Mehdi – Catchpoint

Disclaimer: This content absolutely reflect the opinions of my employer.

Someone sent me another version of the letter.

“Dear CDN,

When we first met, I was down in the dumps. I was slow. I was delivering content from across the ocean to my end users. I was up, I was down.

Then I met you! You with your fancy edge servers, your dynamic routing, your promises of speed, reliability, availability. I fell into the trap… you won me at “headache free delivery system”.

Things were OK for a while. I had some suspicions, but everyone kept on telling me I was fine, you will be fine. I was with a CDN.

I believed them until I met Catchpoint. You see, Catchpoint opened my eyes to things I didn’t want to believe. They showed me a filmstrip of my site loading – 1.2 s of blank screen until my content started loading. 1.2 s of delay for my content! How could this be!?

Together, Catchpoint and I, we looked at a waterfall chart – and that’s when I knew the truth. You are stuck in 1980 – HTTP 1.0 No Keep Alive? Really? And the cherry on the cake, 49 requests consisting of 700 kb CSS and JS were not compressed! No wonder my end user’s screen is blank for more than 1 s, you are delivering a 100 kb CSS file!

I am hurt, I am confused. You not only broke your promise of speed, but you are also charging me by bandwidth! (I’d hate to think this is in connection with your choice not to GZIP as default…)

I still need you though, so I am willing to try again. In order for us to continue, YOU MUST TURN ON GZIP.

If you don’t I will be forced to leave you for another CDN. One who doesn’t just use me for my money.

 Not-So-Fondly Yours,

 Your Heart Broken Website”

Published at DZone with permission of Mehdi Daoudi, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)