blue banner
Preparing Your Website for HTTP/2

Preparing Your Website for HTTP/2

page title border

HTTP is the protocol that delivers website files & resources to your browser, to display a web page. It was first released in 1991, and had its last major update in 1999–which is to say we’re long overdue for an upgrade. Compared to the 90’s, today’s web pages require way more data and more individual resources; in fact, many of today’s best practices have been developed to work around the limitations of HTTP.

HTTP/2 Benefits

Thanks in part to the groundwork laid by Google’s SPDY project, the HTTP/2 protocol has been in development for a number of years. HTTP/2 promises to bring improvements like:

  • multiplexing – to allow multiple, concurrent server requests across a single TCP connection
  • prioritization – to allow the browser to download the most critical web page assets first
  • server push – to allow the server to push information to the browser before it’s requested
  • compression & reduction of HTTP headers to further streamline web page delivery

The HTTP/2 specification was completed in 2015, but adoption requires support on both the server and the browser levels. To date, only 7.5% of the top 1,000 websites have implemented HTTP/2, and only 0.4% of the internet-at-large.

What It Means For Your Website

HTTP/2 is backwards compatible with HTTP 1.1, so the transition will be completely invisible to website visitors. And all major browser vendors already support HTTP/2; however, they all require your website to use HTTPS (a secure connection) to implement it. As mentioned in our last post, HTTPS also gives you a slight boost in organic search rankings, so if your site isn’t already using HTTPS, there are good reasons to implement a secure connection right away.

Unless you host your own website, you probably won’t have control over exactly *when* HTTP/2 is implemented on your server–no doubt it’s part of your web host’s future update plans. So there are no to-dos for you on the server side, but you may want to find out when the update is scheduled to happen, because you will need to make some changes to your website once the change takes place. At the beginning of this post, we talked about the “workarounds” that have been developed to deal with the limitations of HTTP 1.1. Those workarounds all become liabilities once HTTP/2 is in place–they’ll actually make your website run more slowly on the new protocol.

Smashing Magazine put together a handy list of tasks your web developer can do now, to prepare for HTTP/2. By re-organizing and re-optimizing your site with HTTP/2 in mind, you’ll be ready to take advantage of all its benefits, as soon as your server transitions. If you’ve read this far, you might actually be craving those (even more) technical details, which can be found at Smashing Magazine, courtesy of Rachel Andrew.

If you have questions about this topic, or any other questions/suggestions about website development, brand development, or digital marketing, please send an email to [email protected]. We appreciate your suggestions, and enjoy helping you make the most of your brand and your online presence.

Tags: , , ,

Let's Get Started!