After having served for more than 15 years in a row, HTTP 1.1 needed a replacement, and it is the HTTP/2. Not because it is an old protocol, but because the websites are no longer static and text-driven. Most of the sites are now dynamic and media-oriented. These things have an impact on the loading speeds.
However, users don’t browse a site which takes all day to load. To solve this issue, the provider came up with a significant revision to its earlier protocol that the World Wide Web has been using.
A majority of the web browsers and websites now support HTTP/2. Now that is has been released to address the problems of HTTP 1.1, let us see how it is different.
HTTP 1.1 requests the files one after the other. This means that it requests for a file, wait for the response, then download. Once the process for the first file is complete, it moves on to the next one. Modern websites have a large number of requests to be made which makes the processing quite slow.
However, with HTTP/2, multiple resources can be requested at once. You no longer have to wait for a file to download to continue with the next.
HTTP/2 is Binary
Unlike the textual HTTP 1.1, this one encapsulates the data in binary format. This helps in parsing and transferring the data more efficient. If the messages are transmitted in plaintext, they can be easily read using a packet analysis tool.
These issues make the results slightly error-prone, which is not to be worried about with the revised version.
When using HTTP 1.1, servers had to wait for the client to make a request for the resources. But ‘Server Push’ implemented to HTTP/2 allows the server to send the required resources to the browser by itself. The server no longer has to wait for the browser to ask for JS, CSS, and other resource files. It improves the loading speed of a site significantly.
How do you enable HTTP2?
It is fairly easy to enable HTTP/2 as most of it has nothing to do at your end. This one has to be done at the web server level. Most of the major web servers already support it. Apache, IIS, Nginx- are to name a few.
However, if you are running your own server, you just have to install and enable the HTTP/2 libraries. If it is a hosting service that you use, check with the provider to see if it has already enabled the HTTP/2.