What is HTTP/2? Advantages of HTTP/2

Posted on February 27th, 2017

HTTP/2 protocol are used by two groups. Ones who currently use HTTP/2 to increase the speed of the website performance and other ones who are planning to use HTTP/2 in future. In this tutorial, we will be discussing more about HTTP/2.


About HTTP/2

HTTP/2 is a newly arrived version of the most popular HTTP network protocol. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is used by the World Wide Web. This protocol helps to transfer both text and media information with the help of web links in between nodes which are not connected.  Example of such non-connected nodes are browser and server. This can be explained with a simple example, that the page cannot load without the help of Hypertext Transfer Protocol network protocol. The Internet would not be fully functional with the absence of Hypertext Transfer Protocol network protocol. Before moving into the advantages of HTTP/2 let’s see why this network protocol speeds up the website.


The network protocol HTTP

The model used in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol network protocol is a client-server model. The websites can be chosen and loaded by a static Uniform Resource Locator (expansion of URL). When we open the Uniform Resource Locator of a website, the user or client will produce a Hypertext Transfer Protocol request to the server and receive the information in HTML format. When the transfer is completed the browser of the user will display the received HTML code, that is the website itself. The network protocol allows sessions and authentication. Session is the sequence of request-response transactions over a TCP connection to a specific port. The port number of HTTP us 80 and for HTTPS 443. An encrypted channel is used by Transport Layer Security (TLS) as cryptographic protocol for the HTTPS connection.


HTTP/1.0 and HTTP/1.1

Initially HTTP/1.1 was the official standard.  The HTTP/1.1 is the upgraded version of HTTP/1.0 version, which was founded in 1996. The first version of HTTP/1.1 came up in 1997 and the upgraded and the stable HTTP/1.1 was released in 1999 and re-released in 2014. The big difference between the 2 versions is that HTTP/1.0 is the connection of multiple support is enabled. Single connection for each request is allowed in HTTP/1,0, while in HTTP/1.1 it gives the permission for multiple connections. This helps to access the website quicker. This level of connectivity was developed furthermore and which allowed for the discovery of HTTP/2.0


HTTP request methods in detail

The familiar terms used in the HTTP request are GET and POST. When a user signs into a service by providing credentials while clicking on the submit butto. The POST process will be performed by the client. There are other methods also which are not usually performed by the browser while browsing the Internet. The following methods are available:


  • HEAD (like GET but without response body),
  • PUT (modifies or creates resource),
  • DELETE (deletes resource),
  • TRACE (echoes request),
  • OPTIONS (returns supported HTTP methods),
  • CONNECT (converts request to a TCP/IP tunnel),
  • PATCH (applies modifications to resource).


HTTP responses and HTTP status codes

The server response after a request contain the response body, the web page HTML code and also header field response. These are important fields which includes essential information and parameters about HTTP transaction in the connection established.

The first line of the HTTP response begins with the status code that will let know client how to handle the response properly. The various status codes are listed below:

  • 1[xx] – Informational,
  • 2[xx] – Successful,
  • 3[xx] – Redirection,
  • 4[xx] – Client Error,
  • 5[xx] – Server Error.


Advantages of HTTP/2

The main difference between the HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2 is that the way in which data packages are framed and the transportation between the nodes. The high-level syntax of both the network protocol are supported for both. The client receives the data pushed by the server even when the browser request is not initiated. If there more than one requests, it is then multiplexed and pipelined over one TCP connection. This will adversely affect the speed of the web page delivery. For the usage of the HTTP/2 network protocol the server and the client side must have an understanding regarding it’s standard. The latest updated browsers support HTTP/2 and thus the browser will load the web pages over HTTP/2 only if the server supports it.


How to activate HTTP/2 on the server

In the security extension enable the security advisor feature that supports on one click activation of HTTP/2. This will help considering the various other important measures such as one-click SSL and HTPS activation for WordPress. The Security advisor extension is a free and will make the website more secure with increased speed.


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