Problem downloading PDF turned out to be browser problem


My agency finished a large planning document (50.8 mb) in PDF and wanted me to place it on our site to make it accessible to the public and target audience in other agencies. But as soon as I put it up there, my development team started complaining about poor download performance. When I tried the link with FireFox, the browser would try to display the file, download slowly for a while, then hang at about 100 kb. A guy down the hall reported a similar problem with IE.

Immediately I had to field complaints that were off the mark and not helpful, like “Dreamhost is crap. Why are we still hosting our site there?” and “The directory on our site is too full. Clean up your unneeded crap, and we’ll be able to get better performance” and even “Quit screwing around our our side of the site”.

There was one suggestion I tried: “Let’s break off the appendices as separate PDFs and see if users can more plausibly view smaller PDF files”. Did it but it didn’t help much.

I looked for reports of problems at the Firefox site. and followed the instructions to disable the Adobe viewer in Firefox, the first three steps, and didn’t even install the Firefox PDF viewer. Then when a click on a PDF in the MP folder, I get a choice to save or open with Abobe Acrobat. Taking the open with Adobe Acrobat choice, AA pops up with the whole master plan in a few seconds. I tried the Firefox PDF Viewer Add-on.
With the add-on the master plan was displayed in Firefox in a few seconds.

Got similar results with Internet Explorer. Steps are:
Close IE

Open Acrobat, Edit Preferences – Internet, Disable “Display PDF in browser”, also make sure Connection speed is set appropriately – appears default is 56kbps.

My machine then updated Acrobat and wanted a system re-boot

When I reopened IE after re-boot documents downloaded in seconds (a little longer for the Klickitat Hat. Design doc) and were fully viewable in Acrobat window that auto-opened.

So the problem was that the Adobe Viewer was crap, not DH. But before I say this problem is solved, I’m wondering if I’ll have to provide these instructions to everyone who wants to download the big PDF document from our site? I’m wondering if most browser users in the world were also tricked by Adobe to install their viewer, because in the absense of the Adobe viewer, Firefox alone works just fine. Or were just the people in my workgroup the only ones to be tricked by Adobe? Was the Abode viewer distributed with Firefox by default?