You might have heard about the up and coming HTTP/2. Well, it is finally here!
This means that pretty soon webpages will load faster; connections will
last longer; servers will respond to requests with more content. What’s
not to like about that!
HTTP/2 is a very overdue upgrade to Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the
basic protocol that handles connections between a web server and your
The original development of HTTP happened way back when Tim Berners Lee first imagined his World Wide Web project in the late 1980s. However the version of the protocol we currently use, HTTP/1.1, was officially introduced in 1999. Needless to say, the world wide web has changed quite a bit in the past 15 years.
HTTP/2, like any good upgrade, will address some issues with the previous version, and as a result, your web browser will load pages more quickly. This is exciting, but it’s also rather revealing in terms of web history. As the internet’s evolved, web pages have steadily increased in size with the use of images, layouts and clips.
What Is HTTP/2
The way that HTTP/1.0 and subsequent version of the protocol is designed, the increased page size means more requests sent out. The more data gets duplicated, and the more duplicated data means more congestion on the network. Ultimately, your browser has to work harder, constantly issuing requests for more data, so that you can surf the web watching wacky science videos or listening to tropical house music or whatever it is you do on the web.
HTTP/2 Developed by the Hypertext Transfer Protocol working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), this new version offers a lengthy list of solutions to decrease latency in order to improve page load speed. That was the main goal. Inspired by Google’s SPDY protocol—which is more or less a way to hack HTTP—the new HTTP/2 protocol set out to do away with that multiple connections approach and use a single connection that wouldn’t monopolize network resources.
There are a number of other more granular differences between HTTP and HTTP/2, like header compression and server push technologies.
One of the working groups primary goals was to design HTTP/2 to be compatible with HTTP/1.1 The new protocol is already being used by Firefox and Chrome. As it’s implemented across the web, you shouldn’t notice a difference except for faster page load times, especially on mobile phones and networks.
So this is all good news so far but HTTP/2 won’t work with certain types of encryption. However, it will pave the way for better types of encryption, and browsers are using the upgrade as an opportunity to boost security. Rumor has it that Firefox and Chrome will soon only support HTTPS connections. (By the way, the “S” on HTTPS simply means that the protocol is run through a secure protocol, usually Transport Layer Security.)
I personally cannot wait for what is to come!