The issues with the Healthcare.gov web site

The thoughts of having to get health care is on the minds of millions of Americans at this time of the year and for Ohioans, this means having to go to the Healthcare.gov web site. Many people have experienced issues with using the Healthcare.gov web site. These issues include filling out forms and getting random errors to the web site simply not loading even in the most basic form. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Myself, I have been around computer for years and have worked to develop a web site that had a lot of traffic. I worked as a help desk technician for a web hosting provider in my past and worked to help optimize the community forums for a well-known open source web development software known as Joomla. With that being said, I know how to develop an optimized web front end for web sites that need to handle a lot of traffic in an optimized way.

I have personally looked “under the hood” of the Healthcare.gov web site using the built-in developer tools of Google Chrome. I conducted an audit of Healthcare.gov using those development tools and found that many of the frontend components (images, Javascript, CSS) that make up the web site are not using web known web site optimization techniques such as compression and web browser caching.

Compression allows for things like Javascript and CSS files which are mainly simple text files to take less bandwidth or space “on the wire” to send to the user. Web browser caching allows for often used components that make up a web site to be cached on the user’s computer as versus having to go back to the web site to re-download them every time the user clicks to go to the next web page or part of the web site’s many user fillable forms.

Sadly, many of the components that make up the Healthcare.gov web site are not using these well-known web site optimization techniques and thus putting far more stress on the frontend web servers than is needed to be. Caching the content on the user’s computer in the web browser’s disk cache could reduce the load on the Healthcare.gov web site by nearly half. Half may not seem like much but when you’re talking about millions of page loads per second from all over the United States it can go a long way to helping the site perform faster with less load on the backend servers that power the web site and that means a faster web site and less issues and frustration for the user trying to sign up for healthcare.

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  • John

    The level of incompetence within our government is mind-boggling. The government has become so large that it is impossible for concise, clear and effective measures to be put in place in a timely manner. Absolutely disgusting.