All entries for Tuesday 11 October 2005

October 11, 2005

One simple way to speed up web browsing speed (especially for those on campus)

The Residences Network (WarwickPiazza) could be very slow when accessing some web sites, like those in the US and China. Sometimes the progress bar could be frozen for a very looooooooong time and then say "timeout" or other nonsense messages. So "refresh" to make another attempt, and it could still be the same thing. Meanwhile, believe or not, it is possible to download a very laaaaaaaaarge file from within few minutes (or seconds!). If you use your computer and have the same experience, please read below.

A Simple Way to Speed Up Web Browsing Speed

Here is how to setup, try it, and you will see the difference.

For those using Internet Explorer

1. Follow these menu actions:

View -> Internet Options -> (under Connection tab) LAN Settings

Now you will see LAN Settings dialogue
[Picture pending]

2. Untick all the boxes first (if there was any tick)

3. Tick the box in front of Use automatic configuration script, then in the blank field provided, put

4. Click the "OK" button and "OK" again.

5. Start surfing as usual, but it will be probably quicker from now on(ok, at least the same speed).

For those using Mozilla Firefox

The similar setting dialogue is in

Tools -> Options -> "Connection settings"

[Picture pending]

Choose automatic proxy configuration script url, type

That's it. Start surfing as usual, but it will be probably quicker from now on(ok, at least the same speed).

What is going on behind the scene

The idea is to use a proxy server to direct network traffic. The formal definition is caching. In other words, your laptop does not connect directly to the Internet, which could take a very looooooooong time. Instead, IE (or Firefox) connects to a ultra-fast machine located somewhere in the University, and that ultra-fast machine deliveries these web resources to your door.

It is like a scenario in a shop. You buy newspaper, food and drinks from the shop, but you do not need to worry about how the shop transports these products (by car, van, lorry or helicopter maybe?) from distributors.

If you are really interested in how proxy works, see this article:

Why use this setting (or this script)

1. IT services only provides a proxy config script for off campus use

2. This setting only affect unsecured web pages, i.e. those without a lock and the web address starting from "http://...". Secure connections will not be directed.

3. If the ultra-fast machine is broken, it would not affect your browsing except the speed may be slower.

4. It is very quick and easy to set up.

5. It can be updated regularly to fix bugs (if any) or improve performance.

6. The actual setting file is less than 0.3 kB.

7. The most important point: You get Enhanced Web Surfing Experience

Note: there is also a script to use when off campus, and it is located here:

Please let me know your comments and suggestions.

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