As web users, an important aspect of web surfing, other than UI, is page load time. No user likes to sit before their screen watching the loading indicator for a few seconds after typing a URL. From a designer/developer stand-point, slow page load times affects a website’s search engine ranking. To address this matter and improve content delivery, web acceleration is used.
Web Acceleration is the process of speeding up the transfer of content between a Web server and a client browser. Web accelerators can be a self-contained hardware appliance or installable software and may be installed on the client (browsing) computer or mobile device, on ISP servers, on the server computer/network, or a combination.
In order for high traffic sites to support hundreds, and at times thousands, of users and to scale to meet high volumes, modern computing best practices require adding more servers to handle more requests. Continuously adding web servers can become an expensive endeavor. Web Acceleration uses various methods to speed delivery of both static and dynamic content enabling Web servers to handle more client requests without the need for more hardware.
Web accelerators may use several techniques to achieve a reduction in access time which includes:
- HTTP Optimization: One of the primary ways to accelerate Web traffic is by using a Load Balancer or Reverse Proxy server to optimize HTTP traffic as it flows between clients and back-end servers. Through HTTP optimization techniques, the Load Balancer sits in between clients and servers accepting requests for Web content and sending them to the server pool in a streamlined and efficient manner that maximizes speed and server utilization.
- Caching and pre-fetching: Web Acceleration servers can cache or locally store commonly requested information so that additional time and effort is not wasted to fetch that content over and over from back-end Web servers, resulting in overall content acceleration. If the Web content changes from time to time then the Web Accelerator can refresh it’s cache at a specified interval.
- Compression: A Web Accelerator can compress large documents that are being passed back and forth such as images to speed up transfer times.
- SSL Processing: Some advanced Web Accelerators can offload additional processing to free up back-end Web server resources such as encrypting and decrypting documents during secure SSL transmissions.
What is Web Acceleration? Retrieved 15 February 2015.