Browser Encryption Speeds


How good are different browsers at number crunching? That question is near and dear to our hearts here at PassPack.

Below are the speeds for encrypting and decrypting PassPack data in the browser with AES-256 encryption (all libraries here).

Operating System: Windows XP Pro
Hardware: HP Compaq, Centrino 1.6 Mhz, 1.25 Gb di RAM
Running: one browser at a time, plus common programs
AES-256 javascript implementation
Size of encrypted data: 64k (252 PassPack entries)

AES-256 Encryption in Javascript
Netscape performs as Firefox or Explorer, depending on the engine.
Mozilla 1.7 performs the same as Firefox.

Looks like the folks at Apple have built one speedy browser. But if you use Explorer, you’ll need patience grasshopper. Me? I still use Firefox – just love it.

Most of you won’t have 252 entries (here’s why), so things will be speedier for you.

How we ran this test

This is a pretty informal test. We simply took one of our PassPack accounts (Francesco’s – with 252 entries) and timed how long things took in each of the browsers listed above.

Buffer Times and Account Size Variations

PassPack breaks up encryption and decryption into smaller chunks so as not to throw your browser for a loop (thus the “sending packet #1, #2, etc” messages), but it also adds some buffer time to the process.

The 252 entry account we used for testing is made up of 8 packets. The amount of buffer time added is 0.3 seconds for every packet. You can subtract 2 seconds from all the results in the chart above to account for the buffer time.

Smaller accounts show less variation than larger accounts – but it’s not directly proportionate. For example, an account with only 50 entries in Explorer takes only 4 seconds to decrypt, and 3 to encrypt. Huge difference, not proportionate.

How to reproduce the test

While we certainly can’t give you Francesco’s data to run your tests, you can run your own.

To run your own test, sign up for a free account. Our test ran on a special account with no size limitations (hey we built it so we get special privileges – wink). Your free account on the other hand will have enough space for about 100 entries.

To populate your free account with 100 entries, you can create a CSV with fake data (these instructions might help with that), import them, save the data and sign out. Then sign back in to time the following:

Measuring Decryption time

Sign in, when you get to the Packing Key screen, insert the packing key and press the Unpack button.

Start timing when you press the button.
Stop timing when the loading popup disappears.

Measuring Encryption time

Make a small change (change one character in any given entry) and press the red Save my pack button to save.

Start timing when you press the button.
Stop timing when the saving popup disappears.


If you run any tests, please let me know. Also, if you make an account for testing purposes only, please remember to delete it when you’re done. Thanks.


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4 responses to “Browser Encryption Speeds

  1. Do you have a web page or JavaScript file that could be used to reproduce these results? I’d love to be able to test this in newer builds of Safari to make it even faster.

  2. Hi there, it would be great if you could make the benchmark that you ran available in an easy-to-run fashion so that people can reproduce your results and verify for themselves. Thanks!

  3. Mark & Maciej

    Hi, this was a very informal test so I wrote a quick post on it.

    Given your interest though, I’ve integrated the post adding the headers How we ran this test and How to reproduce the test.

    If you decide to do something more formal, I’d love to see your results.

    Thanks, and let me know if anything is unclear.


  4. Pingback: Passpack on Google Chrome! « Passpack Blog

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