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Poll: Split CSS file into 2 downloads or not?
Split it!
Don't split
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split css file to improve perceived latency?
08-17-2010, 04:24 AM
Post: #3
RE: split css file to improve perceived latency?
One thing to consider when analyzing this (are you delivering this CSS from the base-page hostname?) is the effect TCP Slow start will have. TCP slow start is a congestion control algorithm that (for very good reasons) makes brand new connections slower than ones over which data has all ready been transferred. The flash animation and article here are superb: http://www.osischool.com/protocol/Tcp/sl.../index.php I think a presentation was done at Velocity 2010 on this as well.


Even uncompressed, 50 KB is not quite big enough for this to really make a difference (slow start typically occurs until the connection reaches a 64KB window size) so you're probably better off with one file. If you're going to deliver the CSS file(s) from a different hostname than the base page, then splitting is probably going to make it worse. Whether or not the base-page will download fast enough so it can be re-used for the 2nd style sheet (at least in IE7 ... rest of the browsers are gonna open a new connection regardless) is a factor as well.

The ultimate answer is going to be very specific to your site, the audience, their traffic patterns and browser usage.
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RE: split css file to improve perceived latency? - ServerHerder - 08-17-2010 04:24 AM

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