Earlier this year, HTTP/2 protocol was released. It’s a replacement for HTTP/1.x protocol that hasn’t been changed since 1999. That’s a lifetime in Internet time!
The focus of HTTP/2 is site performance, network and server resource usage. It’s based on Google’s protocol SPDY.
You can find more information about HTTP/2 here
Benefits of HTTP/2
One of the benefits is called Multiplexing. It allows simultaneous file transfer between the client and the server, all at the same time.
Great example of difference between HTTP/2 and HTTP/1.1 is like going to the grocery store and instead of calling your spouse once and asking: “Do we need milk, water, bread? But call several times. “Do we need milk? “Do we need water?” “Do we need bread?
Modern browsers can try to download only 2-6 resources at a time. Average webpage has over 100 resources, and each delay in between loading adds to page load.
For example, instead of waiting on Image 2, the browser can download it, even if Image 1 still hasn’t loaded.
This prevents blocking of the entire page, until, let’s say a Huge background image finished loading. This creates a better user experience.
Here’s a live demo of HTTP/2’s performance. It’s amazing to watch the difference in download between the protocols.
This allows the server to push content to visitor, even before the visitor requests it. For example, your server can actually “push” your logo image to the browser, even before it knows that it needs it.
HTTP/2 works best with HTTPS. Having an secure connection is important to Google’s ranking.
How to implement it
If you are interested in implementing HTTP/2 on your site, contact your hosting company. It needs to be installed on the web server. You will need to have SSL installed on your site. A lot of hosting companies are implementing new HTTP/2 protocol now.
Siteground (our preferred hosting provider) was one of the first hosting companies to offer support for HTTP/2 protocol on all shared hosting plans!
Most current browsers now support HTTP/2
You can test if your website loads over HTTP/2 here .
You can also install a browser extension for Chrome to have an indicator in the address bar whether the site supports HTTP/2 and SPDY.