[SOLVED] Why HTTP/2 is slower than plain HTTPS?


I’m evaluating what I can get for my web site from HTTP2 in terms of performance and getting weird result – the site in Europe is loaded from US:

  • with HTTP/2 – in 6-7 seconds
  • with plain HTTPS – in 5-6 seconds (roughly 1 second quicker)

I’ve capture screenshots from Network monitor of Chrome and it looks like with HTTP/2 most of the resources are loaded one after another rather than in parallel like in case of plain SSL.

For testing I’m using my web application covered by Apache 2.4.17 (Win32) as proxy (to apply support for SSL & HTTP/2 protocols). Client browser is Chrome 46.0.2490.86 on Windows 7.

Captured network requests are below. Short summary:
1. Fist one – is HTML page
2. Next group – 6 requests – resources declared directly in HTML
3. The rest – resources added dynamically via script (‘script’ and ‘link/css’ tags in document/head).

Left side of the picture is HTTP/2,
right side – same staff via plain SSL (http2_module is turned off).

enter image description here

Update: I’ve tested “something else” what supports HTTP/2 as reverse proxy. It is nginx Kitty from http://nginx-win.ecsds.eu – fork of original nginx ‘for windows’. HTTP/2 in original nginx is only available in commercial version, therefore I could not try it. And it looks like there are no other servers implementation of HTTP/2 + reverse proxy available for windows, or I just couldn’t find them (list here and here).

The result I’ve got with Kitty is even more misleading – there is no ‘sequential load’ of resources like in Apache, but transfer rate is twice slower over HTTP/2 than over plain SSL. Final result is – HTTP/2 is significantly slower than plain SSL. Below are all of them side by side.

Out of all this i can only assume that performance strongly depends on implementation and currently available implementation perform weirdly to make any consistent conclusion about HTTP/2.

enter image description here


So, finally my decision is – there is nothing wrong with HTTP/2 itself, there is something wrong with implementations currently available.

  • Apache HTTPD 2.4.17 / Win32 – has some weird ‘sequential load’ effect
  • nginx Kitty – provides weirdly slow transfer rate
  • official freeware nginx does not have http2 module built in


both show expected performance. Here is the screenshot for same test performed in ‘the question’, but with Apache reverse proxy hosted on linux computer of another guy here.

enter image description here

Answered By – Xtra Coder

Answer Checked By – Marie Seifert (BugsFixing Admin)

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