Last Updated on August 5, 2020
16 Years in the Making
It looks like HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is getting a major upgrade. The chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) HTTP Working Group announced that a standard has been completed and it’s about to go through the editorial process before it’s officially published. In this post I’ll explain what the HTTP/2 news means to website performance in as few geeky terms as possible.
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What Does HTTP Do?!
You’ve probably noticed “http://” (for regular web pages) and “https://” (for secured web pages) in an online addresses. HTTP is simply a programmatic rule; it helps developers control how a web page loads and transmits data.
In essence, the protocol provides a standardized framework for web applications to communicate with each other. For example, your website has to be structured in a way so Google and other search engines can understand (index) your content in order to present your pages in a search query (on a SERP). Without an HTTP standard, web browsers couldn’t quickly translate and display your website information. Imagine even more chaos on the Web!
Why HTTP/2 Is a Big Deal
HTTP/2 is the most intensive update to the protocol in 16 years. The first documented version of HTTP was back in 1991. Here are a few fun facts about that era to put things into perspective: Silence of the Lambs won 5 Oscars, Kentucky Fried Chicken officially changed their name to KFC, and Nirvana’s Nevermind album was cool. Sixteen years on the web is a lifetime.
So what does HTTP/2 mean for website performance? Speed.
Developer will use the protocols they are used to; yet the new protocol includes optimization techniques like code inlining or concatenation to reduce server requests. Again, what this means is… Speed!