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What is HTTP/2 and Why Does Your Website Need It?



What is http/2

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (or HTTP) is the protocol used to request information from a server so you can see the webpage you request on your computing device. But today broadband speed, rich media, social media, hackers and a myriad other issues are forcing the implementation of the next iteration of HTTP – that would be HTTP/2.



What is HTTP/2?

The version that is currently in place, HTTP/1.1, has been in use since 1999, and considering the many changes in the ecosystem, it is time for a new standard.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) sets these standards, and the organization recently published a draft for HTTP/2. The HTTP/2 draft was in great part inspired Google’s SPDY, a protocol developed by Google to speed the transport and security of web content.

The change has been slow in coming as today’s websites have more than just standard HTML. Design elements such as JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), as well as rich media and real-time communications with WebRTC demand a more flexible, faster and secure framework.

With these developments, it takes the server sending the content and the browser receiving it longer and longer as more features are added. This requires browsers to create more connections to transfer the information people are requesting. More information and transfers translates to longer wait times for consumers that view any type of delay as a bad user experience. And a bad user experience can easily translate into customers jumping ship and going to another company.

How Will HTTP/2 Improve Your Customers’ Online Experience?

Certainly, speed is the name of the game, that is what HTTP/2 will deliver. Improvements of 20 to 30 percent have been documented, and when all Web servers are optimized and the technology matures, it could be higher.



All of the major browsers support HTTP/2 in different capacities. Google just announced it will gradually roll out support in Chrome 40 in the coming weeks. Internet Explorer 11 supports it in Windows 10, and Firefox and Opera also support HTTP/2 over HTTPS.

Some of the benefits of the HTTP/2 protocol include:

  • A single connection that is kept open until the website is closed.
  • Multiplexing, which allows the sending and receiving of multiple messages at the same time.
  • Prioritization for transferring the most important data first.
  • Compression to squeeze information into smaller bits.
  • Server push, which sends additional information to the user ahead of time, by analyzing what your next request will be.

If you want to see a demo of how HTTP/2 works, go to this link.

http2 Photo via Shutterstock



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Michael Guta Michael Guta is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends focusing on business systems, gadgets and other small business news. He has a background in information and communications technology coordination.

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