HTTP 1.0 is almost 20 years old. The 2015 introduction of HTTP/2 means that code has started to catch up to the modern age of web servers, commercial proxies and major content delivery networks.
But what does this upgrade mean to you? How about a faster site with less server calls? That is just the overall outcome of HTTP/2.
Techniques like inclining, concatenations and sprinting to reduce the number of requests on a page are important. However with HTTP/2 these techniques are not necessary, as the main goal of this protocol is to reduce the marginal overheads of new requests. Using a multiplexing method that allows multiple messages to be sent and read together, at the same time as a single response; as opposed to queuing or blocking others.
Why Use HTTP/2?
- HTTP/2 is roughly 50% faster than HTTP 1.1, providing a quicker page load time. See for yourself here: http://www.http2demo.io
- HTTP/2 fetches multiple resources over a single connection simultaneously by multiplexing, unlike older versions that request each resource one at a time, waiting for one to complete before proceeding. Additionally, HTTP/2 allows for prioritization of resources by assigning levels of priority and having the higher priority resources deliver faster, allowing you to make key parts of the page appear first and fast.
- Offers a server push benefit, pushing resources to a client proactively. Sending the resources requested and the resources that will soon be requested. HTTP/2 is clairvoyant.
- By using only one server connection, HTTP/2 has a time-saving connection set-up. This connection is not closed down per page load but remains open for the duration of the website visit, reducing the number of “round trips” and removing the need for multiple TCP connections.
- Transport Layer Security (TLS) is often a bit slow due to the security protocols it creates, but HTTP/2 compresses the header data with HPACK compressions. Reducing the performance hits from TLS allows more web applications to use it and provides greater security for users.
Are there any Drawbacks to using HTTP/2?
HPACK compression requires extra memory for a single connection since the algorithm looks up a table on both ends.
Sites that mainly deliver large downloadable files or media streams like YouTube do not benefit from using a TLS, and multiplexing does not provide any benefits when only one stream is used.
Though HTTP/2 itself does not have any particular restricted requirements, many browsers do not support it without the use of a TLS connection, HTTPS. But using HTTPS and HTTP/2 together will improve your site's SEO due to the speed improvement and use of a secure protocol (Google Search started using HTTPS as a ranking signal in 2014).
All in all, HTTP/2 attempts to overcome HTTP 1/1.1’s shortcomings. as well as aid in your site's speed and security when paired with HTTPS. Faster sites lead to a better user experience and ultimately more conversions.
Learn more about HTTPS and how we can help.
By Bethny Card
As a Digital Marketing Specialist, Bethny is a strong SEO resource for Thinkwrap and our clients. She holds an advanced diploma in Advertising, and brings with her over five years’ experience working in the digital marketing field across Canada and abroad. Her dedication to her career and thirst for knowledge contribute to her role helping customers achieve omnichannel growth maximum ROI.