Since the introduction of Safari, Mac users have favored the browser for its rendering speed, clean interface and fast launch times. Those who relied on Firefox were all about extensibility, configurability and IE compatibility. Or so I thought.
For months now, Safari has become a secondary browser to me. Indeed, while I am partial to its speed and the excellent multimedia rendering capabilities of WebKit, I found I needed a different engine for everyday browsing. Did I choose Firefox however? No, and only because of the application’s relative sluggishness when compared to the likes of Safari, Camino or Opera. In fact, whenever I found myself logged onto one of these SSLed corporate websites, I often switched back to Safari, in the interests of saving some time.
Then, while browsing the Basecamp website a few days ago, I noticed a “tip” from the folks at 37Signals instructing Safari users to prefer Firefox should they be in need of additional SSL speed. A quick try proved them right: while Safari knocks Firefox’ socks any day in rendering pages over HTTP, our favorite carnivorous mammal cuts through encrypted connections like butter.
I would be curious to hear from experts of both projects on the reasons why that is. Is the difference in speed mostly perceived? Is it linked to a specific server/certificate combination that each browser handles differently? I’d love to hear some of your experiences.