Q&A Firefox Quantum TLS handshake delay

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Bill K

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Jul 25, 2018
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Apparently beginning with Firefox Quantum 57 (and subsequent releases) many users are intermittently experiencing a long delay during the TLS handshake process when loading a page. I've found multiple threads discussing it on various sites with potential solutions provided including creating a new Firefox profile, doing a clean install, changing FF proxy settings, conflicts with security software, and many others. I've tried most of the suggestions and the only one which worked for me was to go to the about:config page in FF, search for the 'network.proxy.proxy_over_tls' entry and set it to false. The intermittent TLS handshake delay is now gone and my page load times are consistently fast. I thought I'd share it here in case it might be helpful to other forum members using FF, and also to ask whether anyone is aware of potential problems changing that setting accordingly may cause. TIA!
 
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Bill K

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Jul 25, 2018
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I've been continuing to research this issue across numerous forums, and found some warning against making the change described above for potential security concerns. I therefore do not feel comfortable making this suggestion to others since it might compromise your system's security. I will continue to investigate this issue and share any other potential solutions in this thread. :unsure:
 
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Bill K

Level 5
Jul 25, 2018
205
858
I've been reading many more posts about this issue, and have reset my FF 'network.proxy.proxy_over_tls' entry back to its default value of true since I didn't want to take any chance of compromising security. Several users commented that this problem can be caused by various extensions and specifically mentioned uBlock Origin as being one such possibility. So I disabled it in my FF installation to see if I encounter the TLS handshake delay, and so far so good... :emoji_fingers_crossed::emoji_pray: Being an intermittent problem it can take some extended run time before being reasonably sure it will not recur.
 
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Bill K

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Jul 25, 2018
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HarborFront

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@HarborFront - Thanks, that's one of the first sites I checked out. I've been through the author's suggestions as well as most in the comments. The only fix that seemed to initially work for me was modifying the proxy_over_tls setting as I described above, but then decided to pursue other potential solutions due to security concerns.
From your OP can you provide some websites that are affecting you for I'm using FF Quantum with uBO as well. Let me test them and see.
 

Bill K

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Jul 25, 2018
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858
From your OP can you provide some websites that are affecting you for I'm using FF Quantum with uBO as well. Let me test them and see.
It's intermittent so it's not easy to definitively test (may not exhibit any delay for several pages of a site and then all of a sudden it happens), but has occurred periodically here on MT, as well as some audio related sites like audioaficionado.org and whatsbestforum.com. So far I haven't seen any delay since I removed uBO, and I'm pretty sure it would be related to a specific filter but not sure which one. I appreciate your kind offer to help test but I think I've got a handle on it now. There are so many filters in uBO that trying all of the possible combinations with a problem that does not consistently occur would be very difficult.
 
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HarborFront

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It's intermittent so it's not easy to definitively test (may not exhibit any delay for several pages of a site and then all of a sudden it happens), but has occurred periodically here on MT, as well as some audio related sites like audioaficionado.org and whatsbestforum.com. So far I haven't seen any delay since I removed uBO, and I'm pretty sure it would be related to a specific filter but not sure which one.
The first time I opened the sites it took about about 3 secs. After that they load within 1 - 2 secs.........likely pages are cached.

Chrome browser with uBO took longer when starting fresh and even after that....likely due to different extensions

So, do you consider these timings as slow? To me it seems ok.

All browsers running with uBO
 
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Bill K

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Jul 25, 2018
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I would consider those normal loading times. What I was experiencing (along with many others as detailed in the comments on the page you linked to above) were periodic long delays in the 15 to 20 second range while it would show it was establishing TLS handshake. I didn't have page loads fail like some others did, just abnormally long delays apparently while the TLS handshake was being completed. Thanks for your effort in testing to provide the additional data points for comparison! It does seem to vary from user to user and may also involve security software installed and/or other system dependent variables.
 

HarborFront

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Oct 9, 2016
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I would consider those normal loading times. What I was experiencing (along with many others as detailed in the comments on the page you linked to above) were periodic long delays in the 15 to 20 second range while it would show it was establishing TLS handshake. I didn't have page loads fail like some others did, just abnormally long delays apparently while the TLS handshake was being completed. Thanks for your effort in testing to provide the additional data points for comparison! It does seem to vary from user to user and may also involve security software installed and/or other system dependent variables.
Yes, sometimes slow page opening can be due to traffic congestion on the net or ISP issues. If you try again later the delay in opening will be gone
 
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Bill K

Level 5
Jul 25, 2018
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858
Thanks again for your kind support. I'm fully aware of 'normal' page loading times and how they can vary depending upon traffic and other network issues. This problem is also an intermittent delay but is clearly identified as occurring when "Performing TLS handshake".
 
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