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I'm tunneling an HTTP connection over stunnel. The client side does not natively support HTTPS, so stunnel in client mode is used.

Would setting TCP_NODELAY=1 help responsiveness in typical web browsing? The way I understand it, Nagle's algorithm bunches up packets and sends data in whole multiples of the packet size.

My own benchmarking seems to have shown zero difference, though probably because my internet link to the server is too good.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Nagle's algorithm only really impacts applications which send many small packets and are latency sensitive (such as SSH or telnet). Since web browsing involves relatively large packets with both sides sending multiple packets without waiting for a response there won't be a significant change when setting TCP_NODELAY.

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If you want to speed HTTPS:

  • enable KeepALive in HTTP protocol
  • enable compression
  • enable caching
  • install/enable SPDY for you web server
  • reorder compression algorithms to put the faster one at the beginning. Think also about security when enable/reorder those algorithms.
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