Change is good, especially when it is for the good. That is what migrating to HTTP/2 is all about. It leaves behind the shortcomings of HTTP and presents web developers and users with a renewed web experience that is better than ever.
HTTP has remained the cornerstone of web technology. However, with time its performance felt gravely short of the current requirements of web developers and end users.
Some Of its Shortcomings Were:
- Incapable of full bandwidth utilization
- Complicated web designing and maintenance
- Client and server systems demand more resources
It is the second coming of HTTP which aims to eliminate all these shortcomings of HTTP to deliver a refined and accelerated performance.
HTTP/2 is developed by Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) – the authority which is also entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the HTTP protocol.
Compared to HTTP/1.x, HTTP/2 has several ground-level differences which makes it adaptive to changing web scenarios.
The Differences Include :
- It is binary than textual as in HTTP/1.x
- Support multiplexing
- Use multiple connections for parallelism
- Uses single server connection for proactive response caching
Feature Improvisations in HTTP/2
Single Server Connection: In HTTP/1, browsers had multiple server connections open and in use which drained resources drastically. In HTTP/2 only a single server connection is provided which will remain active as long as the website is open. This will result in better utilization of resources and avoid over consumption of network resources by applications.
Multiplexing: One major drawback that every user faced in HTTP/1 was the queuing of requests. Each transfer was processed only on completion of the previous transfer. HTTP/2 will make things easier by transferring multiple requests at the same time on the same connection.
Prioritization of Requests: In HTTP/2 each request will be assigned a dependency level. Based on the assigned dependency level, the request will be processed by the server on priority. In the earlier version, requests were dealt with on order which was time consuming and detrimental to actual requirements. With HTTP/2 client also allows to assign priority to headers frame.
Adopts Binary language: HTTP/2 adopts binary language thus doing away with the need to translate text into machine understandable binary language. This will also reduce the amount of server errors in parsing information.
Compressed Header Size: Header Compression is another feature improvisation in HTTP/2, which will reduce the page loading speed considerably. It will help websites load faster and provide users with a blazing fast user experience than erstwhile slow and buggy page loading.
Why You Need a SSL Certificate to Migrate to HTTP/2?
HTTP/2 supports websites with HTTPS or without HTTPS encryption.
However, going forth, major web browsers (including Chrome & Mozilla Firefox) will be compatible only for HTTP/2 websites with encryption.
In other words, your website will need SSL encryption in order to deliver HTTP/2 benefits to a large chunk of Internet users. (Chrome & Firefox together command a 58% user share as of August 2016).
Moreover, Google is also making moves to rank websites after weighing their security. Non-secure websites (those without HTTPS) will either be ranked less or have some default features like geolocation tracking disabled.
Should You Migrate to HTTP/2?
First of all, you are not going to lose anything by migrating to HTTPs. It’s all gains that is waiting websites which embrace HTTPs. However, those websites which want to migrate HTTP/2 will have to adopt HTTPS.
The migration part is easier than it is believed on the contrary. A simple upgrade of the server software and configuring SSL encryption (to be on the safer side) is all it takes to become a part of the HTTPs.
The benefits we described earlier prove the point why HTTP/2 is important. It is the future. It is the next tipping point in the web which will redefine user experience with faster and secured connections. To reiterate its benefits, HTTP/2 can be a great boost to SEO rankings.
HTTP/2 Have a Positive SEO Impact
Google supports HTTPs as ranking signal and in nearer future it’s browser version Google Chrome 56 will give warning to http page as ‘non secure’ which are responsible for taking confidential information from people.
Again, even if that is not happening, the reduced page loading speed will eventually push your website up the rankings. In other words, HTTP/2 is definite to have a positive impact on your SEO rankings.
The Roadmap to Adopting HTTP/2
You cannot escape the future for too long. It arrives nevertheless. HTTP/2 is almost at your doorstep and there is no escape from letting it in. Here is how you can embrace HTTP/2 with ease and poise. Here is what you need to do immediately to get on with HTTP/2 migration.
1. SSL Configuration
HTTP/2 requires HTTPS as a prerequisite. Configure your website with a SSL certificate.
2. Populate User Browser
Your user browsers should be compatible with the HTTP/2. Although most popular browsers like Mozilla, Chrome, Safari, etc. support HTTP/2 by default, it is recommended to check if your users use any other browsers. Google Analytics can help unravel such information. Based on that you can decide whether to migrate or not.
3. Server Software Update and Configuration
Check if your server software is compatible with HTTP/2. If it is not, upgrade it to be compatible. In case an update is not optional, you can place a reverse proxy in front of the server to be compatible with HTTP/2.
4. Optimize Page Loading Speed
Above things bring people to the close of HTTP/2 migration. Needless to say, the time is ripe for migration. If not now, sometime in the future it will become inevitable. Better to be ahead of the herd to have the maximum flexibility when new updates keep coming in.