Only a few people still write to enter the URL in the browser, and those few are looks of disbelief: may the standard HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol pass increasingly unnoticed because we take it for granted everywhere, but it takes up since 1997 and remains the central pillar of web communications.

Now, this protocol is on track to modernize with its second major version: HTTP / 2. We anticipating years, knowing that their main advantage will be the speed with which we can load web pages, but how it will work exactly and what will be the actual speed improvement?

The standard HTTP: express lesson

Let’s do a quick review of how the HTTP standard works, because it is indivisible “atom” of the web: a client (you, with your open web browser) requests to a server loading a web page by writing a web address in the browser. The server receives the HTTP request and issues a response that is loading the HTML files that web with any other implementation that cargo behave.

Image Source: Google Image

In addition to the burden of that web, the server also responds with a status message indicating whether everything has gone well or if there has been an error. Surely you recognize the status message 404 indicating a charging error did not find anything, or the recent controversy error message with the new code 451 who want to attribute to load failure “for legal reasons”, surrounded by Reviews censorship.

If the HTTP standard we add a layer of security using SSL get HTTPS, which is nothing more than the standard HTTP with encryption that makes nobody can read the data moving between requests that sends the user to your browser and server responses. We detail thoroughly, and it is a security measure that the vast majority of online services considered as essential.

HTTP vs. HTTP / 2: what is changing?

The quick answer is the speed at which it works. Come up with the most elaborate response: HTTP / 2 is based on SPDY, a protocol introduced in 2009 by Google with the intention to accelerate the web. At that time there was talk of an increase of 22-60% of the loading speed of conventional webs and an increase of 39-55% in the case of sites with SSL. Here you can see the final specifications of the new standard.

How is that so significant increase in speed is achieved? For multiplexing the servers receiving requests from users and their web browsers. Those servers can serve multiple requests simultaneously. That also saves on number of connections, releasing working servers. This graphic explains it well:

In addition, the servers can be proactive: they recognize what type of client (web browser) has sent a request and, in addition to sending the answer you need, also send answers with data you already know that the browser will need before it requests them a new request. For example: while we are saddled with HTML first all HTML web then load its content (CSS, images) with HTTP / 2 we can load all that content while the same HTML base.

For developers, perhaps the novelty that most will notice is that of the frames. We spent the structure of header and body in HTML to divide everything in binary “frames” which are to be lots of identifiable code as those header and body that can be sent before the server sends the response HTML element that has previously sent. This also helps to better compress the contents of the headers, which in turn facilitates further rapid loading of all data.

Encryption is perhaps the novelty has brought more discussion: HTTP / 2 is ready to accept encrypted requests (in the same way as does HTTPS), but will not be something completely mandatory as many users demanded. What it does happen is that most modern browsers (including Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Internet Explorer and Opera) only accept HTTP / 2 communications if they are encrypted, so that although it will not be something strictly required yes virtually all developers will implement this encryption like it or not. The EFF is already making steps to make it not too complicated.

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Okay, so how much time this saves?

While the globe loaded with HTML 1.1 has taken 20.8 seconds to load with a latency of 271 milliseconds, the same balloon has been slow 6.67 seconds to load with HTML / 2 0 milliseconds latency.

This other Cloudflare demo (which you can prove yourself here ) is changing in its results, but the load in seconds of a small web module that lists servers that company takes about 3.5 times less time to load if we do HTTP /2.

Finally, this other demo somewhat more complex HttpWatch detailing us what aspects of HTTP / 2 is where we find improvement: while the number of connections is more or less the same in HTTP, HTTPS and HTTP / 2, the charging time is a few milliseconds least HTTP / 2: 988-772.

When it will start operating HTTP / 2?

For right now, because they begin to have some optimization services web traffic already implemented some (only some) of the news of the HTTP / 2 standard such as the ability to respond to client requests even before they send them. Chrome and Firefox browsers most commonly used desktop, they are ready to accept the standard in its entirety. Edge of Safari and Microsoft are working to make it in the future.

Only this change, according to CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince, can make within a year see how we saved a second each time we load a web. Do you think it is little? In terms of download, files may represent a very big difference. In accrued benefit, we could be talking about 31,000 years saved every month.

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