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Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome support prefetching via an HTML tag:

<!-- in chrome -->
<link rel="prerender" href="http://example.org/index.html">

I suppose it is always worthwhile to include this tag if 100% of users on a page click on the "Next Page" button or similar, and never worthwhile to include it if only 2% or 3% of users visit the following page. At what percent of clicks should you turn on prefetching of the next page? 65%? Also, does the calculus change if the current page is HTTP and the next page is HTTPS?

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This is a highly subjective question, the answer depends on how large your pages are, how much bandwidth (and processor time) you're willing to waste to make your page seem faster for the % of users who click through to the next page –  Seph Mar 5 '12 at 9:03
    
Agree it's subjective, but wondering if there are guidelines someone could point to, or whether anyone's actually done user tests about the amount of "wasted bandwidth" and whether users actually care. –  Kevin Burke Mar 5 '12 at 9:12
    
Why not event track your Next Page button or monitor your content in Google Analytics and decide for your self what's best for your site and traffic? –  Anagio Mar 7 '12 at 15:59
    
This is a confusing question. % of users who click through to the next page depends upon how large your pages are. –  user13902 Mar 9 '12 at 3:43
    
Sorry? I mean the percent, not the absolute number... –  Kevin Burke Mar 9 '12 at 8:50
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 6 '12 at 15:27

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1 Answer

As usual, it depends.

  • How much extra load are you willing to take on your web servers?
  • Could they handle an additional hit for every load of the first page?
  • Do you pay for bandwidth, would your current bucket support doubling the calls?

if the answer to all of the above is "We have the technology!" then why not provide your users a better experience by pre-fetching?

To specifically address the question about HTTPs see the existing Cost of using SSL here on webmasters.

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