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Firefox 3 and its impact on servers particularly those serving static content

June 18, 2008

Firefox 3 has been released and by all accounts there has been enormous uptake of this fine browser.

If you aren’t familiar with the browser, I would encourage you to visit Deb Richardson’s brilliant Field Guide to Firefox 3 which describes a number of key Firefox 3 features in a very accessible manner.

One thing I would like to mention is that Firefox 3 has improved connection parallelism. The default limit for concurrent connections per hostname has been increased from 2 to 6 which is similar to IE8. Details can be found in this bug report here and for the technically inclined these are the new defaults

pref(“network.http.max-connections”, 30);
pref(“network.http.max-connections-per-server”, 15);
pref(“network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server”, 6);
pref(“network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy”, 8);

Whilst the improved connection parallelism is one factor in improved page load performance, web server administrators who are currently serving content via Apache need to factor in increased concurrent connections from Firefox 3 and tweak their MaxClients setting appropiately.

If they are using Apache to serve static content, maybe they should consider switching to lighttpd and nginx for serving such content.

Google’s Steve Souder has a great roundup on Parallel Connections in this blog entry.

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Categories: General, Mozilla
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