With ever-increasing connection speeds, webpages have become bloated and require many separate HTTP requests to retrieve all the information they need to get displayed on your web browser.  In its default setup, your web browser makes a request for information and waits for the response before sending the next. Some pages may require hundreds of requests for information. Operating this way is like having a conversation with someone down a physical pipe, one person says something, the other person listens, digests the information and speaks their response, for which the initial person is now listening. Only one persons voice can be in-the-pipe at any given time. Have you noticed webpages that build themselves piecemeal as, typically multimedia snippets (like images), first display place-markers and then display the actual content seconds later. Under many circumstances this default setup means webpages may become painfully slow to load. A problem that is exacerbated by slow download speeds or shared internet connections.

Make webpages load faster

Thanks to an easy to follow, and concise, YouTube clip by Spaz Tech, I was able to resolve this problem. What a relief! Slow loading webpages were really getting on my nerves.

Hopefully this simple fix will work for you as well.

Basically this tip instructs you how to enable something called “pipelining” so that multiple HTTP requests can be made at the same time. This is synonymous to replacing the default single pipe with multiple pipes. In a plumbing scenario you can imagine how that would help move more water. And it is exactly the same for the information that needs to flow to you over the internet. With more pipes the information gets to you faster and helps make webpages load faster.

Although the notion of having more physical pipes is an easy one to comprehend, it isn’t exactly like that with the internet. You still have your single connection to the internet, pipelining simply utilizes that connection more efficiently.

Pipelining in simplistic terms

Pipelining can be viewed similarly to a road delivery service that needs to move parcels from one side of a river to another utilizing a two way road bridge. In this scenario, vehicles need to drive across the bridge, retrieve as many parcels as they can carry, and return to the starting side where they offload their cargo.

Without pipelining: one vehicle must cross the bridge, pickup its cargo, return across the bridge and off-load its cargo before another car can attempt a crossing. Only one vehicle can be involved at any given moment in time. Every other vehicle must wait.

With pipelining: several vehicles can be traveling on the bridge at the same time, and in both directions. In addition to this, loading activities can also be performed for several vehicles at the same time. This is much more efficient usage of the bridge and the vehicles.

As is plain to see—pipelining allows a much more efficient, and hence quicker, process of transporting the parcels across the river.

Translating this to webpage parlance, more efficient transportation of data translates to a dramatic improvement in webpage load time and should make webpages load faster.




Web browsers that support pipelining

  • Mozilla browsers ( Such as Firefox, SeaMonkey and Camino)
  • Konqueror 2.0
  • Google Chrome

A simple Google search of “enable pipelining in <browser name>” should yield many helpful pages for your particular browser.

Web browsers that do not support pipelining

  • Internet Explorer

So why is pipelining disabled by default?

Pipelining is only supported in HTTP/1.1, not in 1.0, so some old servers may not support it.

My thoughts are that I probably don’t want the information that is on old servers whose owners don’t care to update them anyway. HTTP/1.1 was introduced to the world in 1999, that’s long enough ago for me.

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