What is HTTP?
HTTP is the abbreviation for Hypertext Transfer Protocol; something that manages the communication between the browser on the computer and the web servers, where a website is hosted.
To describe it in an even simpler language, HTTP is the way browsers and servers talk to each other. When you enter any URL into your browser, it sends an HTTP request to the server requesting the webpage and its associated files.
HTTP was originally proposed by Tim Berners-Lee and later launched in 1991. Although the Internet has evolved a lot since then, HTTP, which is the power of the Internet, has undergone very little improvement.
How does HTTP/1 work?
HTTP version 1 is limited to processing a single request at a time.
So for sites that are still in HTTP version 1, browsers are forced to open multiple connections in parallel to process multiple requests simultaneously. However, too many parallel connections can cause congestion. Modern browsers process about 6 parallel requests.
If more than 6 requests are required to load a webpage, they are queued, and therefore users experience a long time to load the slow page.
How does HTTP/2 work?
HTTP/2 was launched in 2015, given the needs of the modern Internet. This is the first major improvement in HTTP since 1997!
The following are just some of the notable features of HTTP/2:
- Header compression
- Server Push
All of these features are primarily focused on performance and security. But my favorite is Multiplexing.
Multiplexing allows multiple requests to be activated simultaneously. So, unlike processing only 6 parallel requests and queuing the rest as seen in the previous example; HTTP/2 can send unlimited HTTP requests with a single connection.
This immediately improves the performance and speed of websites drastically. As you can see in many, many tests, HTTP/2 can load twice as fast!
How do I start using HTTP/2?
The easiest way for your website to run over HTTP/2 is SSL. After installing SSL, you can enable HTTP/2 in your server configuration
But if you're not a technician, you don't have to worry. Make sure your website is hosted by companies like Mivocloud, which supports HTTP/2 by default.
If your site doesn't support HTTP/2 yet, migrate it immediately because you'll lose a lot of your customers.