Should You Go With The Flow And Move To HTTP/2 In 2016?

Chad Faith
Chad Faith

Director of Content

Should You Go With The Flow And Move To HTTP/2 In 2016?

The possibility of your website loading much faster and your server consuming fewer resources is no longer a far-fetched dream. Also, website developers no longer need to waste a lot of time and effort to increase site speed. Thanks to the great advancements in web technology, the future is here! While everyone scrambles to move to HTTP/2, we suggest that you do the same in the coming year. If you are unsure about what HTTP/2 means, read on to find out more.

What is HTTP/2?

In short, this is the Internet Engineering Task Force‘s latest update to the HTTP protocol. The said protocol was first drafted in the late 1990s and HTTP/2 is a much-needed refresh. The new protocol is largely based on Google’s existing protocol called the SPDY. It shares many similar concepts and features that will be found in the new HTTP/2 as well.

Major Improvements You Can Expect

  • Binary: It makes HTTP/2 less error-prone and more compact which will make it easier for a server to parse. The time taken to translate information from text to binary is also significantly reduced.
  • Server push: Extra resources can be transferred over to a client for future usage.
  • Header compression: HTTP/2 can now reduce overheads as it utilizes HPACK compressions.
  • Single connection: The server only uses one connection to load a website. The connection will stay opened as long as the website is open. Round trips are greatly reduced when setting up multiple TCP connections.

What can HTTP/2 Do for Developers?

  • Inlining: JavaScript and CSS code are now placed directly into the HTML. Additional usage of RAM and delays page will stop when the HTML is downloaded.
  • Image sprites: Image files will be combined to reduce requests. Developers must load the file before any image can be shown. Large image files will be tied to RAM.
  • Domain sharding: Files will now be loaded from multiple sub domains to allow more connections to be established. Do note that any increase in parallel file transfers will add to server connection overhead.
  • Cookie-less domains: Static resources like images no longer need cookies. This will help many developers save time and bandwidth. Also, HTTP/2 will help compress headers and reduce the size of requests.

How Does It Affect SEO?

Websites that support HTTP/2 will likely experience additional rankings boost from speed. If your website has not been upgraded to HTTPS protocols in the past, you will also see an additional boost in rankings when you make the move as Firefox and Chrome are supporting it over HTTPS. If you are already using HTTPS, there are technical items that need to be dealt with before switching over to the new protocol. If not, your website rankings will experience a permanent drop.

If you are still considering whether to move to HTTP/2 in 2016, you can take the time to test out several demos that will allow you to see how an increase in latency affects tiled images that are in action. HTTP/2 is said to be able to boost your site’s loading speed when that happens and that will be very beneficial for mobile users. If your website caters mostly to mobile users, you know what to do!