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Is your Website Ready for HTTP/2?

The last HTTP protocol update was in 1997, and until now, there have not been any updates.  For the past almost 2 decades, HTTP has basically done the heaving lifting of bringing webpages to the end user’s browser; for instance, when you go to any website, you create an HTTP request to a webserver, asking it to deliver all elements of a website.

Today’s modern websites are becoming more resource intensive and are outgrowing this method of content transfer.  Each element counts as a separate HTTP request which with today’s resource intensive websites can make load rate very slow and a poor experience for the end user.

SPDY and HTTP/2

HTTP/2 emerged from Google’s SPDY, their open networking protocol developed primarily for transporting web content.  SPDY manipulates HTTP traffic, with particular goals of reducing web page load latency and improving web security.

HTTP/2 is the first major HTTP protocol update since 1997 when HTTP/1.1 was first published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The new HTTP protocol is needed to keep up with the exponential growth of the web. It brings significant improvement in efficiency, speed and security and is supported by most modern web browsers. A list of browsers that support HTTP/2 can be found here.

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More About HTTP/2

  • HTTP/2 is binary, instead of textual.
  • Is fully multiplexed, sending multiple requests in parallel over a single TCP connection.
  • It uses header compression HPACK to reduce overhead.
  • It allows servers to “push” responses proactively into client caches instead of waiting for a new request for each resource
  • It uses the new ALPN extension which allows for faster-encrypted connections since the application protocol is determined during the initial connection.
  • It reduces additional round trip times (RTT), making your website load faster without any optimization.
  • Domain sharding and asset concatination is no longer needed with HTTP/2.

Details: HTTP/2 introduces other improvements, more details: HTTP/2 RFC7540

HTTPS

Most browsers only support HTTP/2 for HTTPS, which means you must migrate to HTTPS if you want to take advantage of the performance benefits.

Test My Website for HTTP2

Get on HTTP/2 with Cloudflare

CloudFlare has HTTP/2 support for all customers using SSL/TLS connections, while still supporting SPDY.   If you are a CloudFlare user, both SPDY and HTTP/2 are already enabled. With this improvement, your website’s audience will always use the fastest protocol version when accessing your site over TLS/SSL.

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