Hillary Vs Trump: Comparing Presidential Candidate Website Performance Results

whitehouse-silhouette-800pxHow 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

Drilling into the details of each session monitored, it appears that the actual load times of Donald Trump’s site are a bit skewed due to some 3rd party elements timing-out once in a while.  When these elements timeout they increase the total page load time from a typical 6-8 second period to around 50 seconds.  Some of the elements causing the high averages and wide standard deviation include javascript from crowdskout.com, ad content from tellapart.com and connection errors intermittently during the debate returning 503 service unavailable backend server at capacity.  From a users perspective, some of those elements are not even visible on the page, and so they may appear not to affect the time to interact with the page, however the “server at capacity” errors on Trump’s website during the debate definitely sounds like an issue that at least some users experienced when trying to perform research during the debate.  The Trump website outage was confirmed by Politico on Monday.  No server outages were identified on Hillary’s website during the debate although there were some 503 “server at capacity” errors found earlier in the day from a 3rd party content host optimizely.com.

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
  • Amsterdam
  • Denmark
  • Poland
  • India
  • China
  • Japan
  • Israel
  • Hong Kong
  • South Africa
  • Argentina


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:

  • adobetm.com
  • com
  • com
  • net
  • com
  • Foxnewsplayer-a.Akamaihd.net

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.


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