How tech savvy are the two United States presidential candidates of 2016? Even if they themselves are not up to speed on the minutia of internet and network technology- one would expect they would have the foresight to employ quality technical resources to help promote their campaigns. After all, one of these individuals may soon be making decisions that have wide reaching legal ramifications for the future of the internet as the next president of the United States. In fact, cyber technology was one of the major talking points of the first presidential debate on Monday.
We monitored the websites of each candidate: Hillaryclinton.com and DonaldJTrump.com on Monday from various locations around the United States as well as around the world with our free website speed test. We found several interesting facts both throughout the day as well as during the debate.
Average Page Load Speed
The average response time of the homepage of Hillaryclinton.com was 6.86 seconds with a standard deviation of 4.38 seconds. The average response time of donaldjtrump.com was 12.08 seconds with a standard deviation of 11.92 seconds.
Candidate Response Time Standard Deviation
Clinton 6.86 4.38
Trump 12.08 11.92
Handling International Traffic
Another interesting fact is the way each website handles requests from outside the United States. Hillary Clinton’s website works from anywhere in the world. Donald Trump’s website returns a 403 forbidden error from most countries (outside the US).
Of the locations we tested, Trump’s website is currently not available in many locations outside the US including:
- Paris, France
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
Instead of loading the homepage, users from these locations receive a 403 Forbidden Error response and are presented with a screen that simply says “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT” with a reCAPTCHA asking the user to confirm that they are not a robot.
What implications does this have for government employees and members of the military deployed outside the United Sates and other US citizens abroad that are trying to stay informed about the presidential candidates?
IPv6 DNS Resolution
Trump’s website resolves IPv6 ok but some of the 3rd party content providers used on the website do not.
While many websites are still not setup to handle IPv6 exclusive traffic with an AAAA record, they likely have some sort of address translation available. We were curious whether either of the presidential candidates’ websites are setup to handle traffic requests from a browser that only uses IPv6. Neither candidate’s website is setup to completely accept IPv6 exclusive traffic.
In the case of Donald Trump’s website, there are AAAA records setup, so the main site does accept and resolve IPv6 addresses however many of the 3rd party assets used on the page do not resolve IPv6 exclusive addresses including:
In the case of Hillary Clinton’s website- It appears AAAA records are not set up to handle IPv6 traffic at all. The site does not resolve www.hillaryclinton.com to an IPv6 address, so we were unable to see if any third party hosts referenced on the page resolved correctly.
3rd Party Content
Hillary Clinton’s website utilizes content from 31 different 3rd party hosts including many CDNs (content distribution networks), and website traffic monitoring services such as google-analytics.com, analytics.yahoo, doubleclick, and quantcast. There are also elements from several advertising services, social media sites and common libraries such as ajax.googleapis. As Dan Barker points out on his blog http://barker.co.uk/hillary2016 Hillary’s team went to the trouble of registering the domain hrc.onl to ”have a shorter domain name to serve code from & separate it from the main domain”.
Donald Trump’s website loads content from at least 50 different 3rd party providers. Trump’s site has elements from Facebook similar to Clintons, however it also contains elements from additional social media sites like twitter and pinterest. Whether a direct result of the additional hosts or not, Donald Trump’s website tends to load almost twice as slow as Hillary’s website with more inconsistency in load times from one parts of the country to the next.
So while there seems to be plenty of third party content utilized on both the Democrat and the Republican candidates websites- we did notice a lack of third party representation during the Monday night debate.
Free Website Speed Test
If you are curious how your websites perform compared to the 2016 presidential candidates, head over to Dotcom-tools website speed test and enter your url for a full performance report or sign up for a free monitoring account to see reports on how your site performs over time.