Before discussing the top HTTP2 Protocol, it is essential to have a clear idea of HTTP which is the acronym for HyperText Transfer Protocol. This is an application layer protocol that, while widely considered boring, is the foundation of the World Wide Web.
Originally, HTTP has proposed by Tim Berners Lee. Later in February 2015, the HTTP was revised by IETF HTTP Working Group and a second relevant version of the application protocol was created and was named HTTP2.
What is the difference between HTTP2 and HTTP1.1?
The HTTP2 was possibly created with the help of SPDY protocol which was designed by Google back in 2009. The issues with HTTP 1.1 were that it was created when:
- A page hardly exceeded 100 Kb
- CSS was not available
- The only basic form of validation and simple requirements were needed to be fulfilled
So, HTTP is not the perfect protocol to meet the modern demands of the internet world. Then came the HTTP2 protocol that aims to reduce latency through techniques like multiplexing, request prioritization, compression, and server push.
Whereas it is true that HTTP2 is a little more complicated than the original HTTP, it is also more efficient. The three qualities that the developers wanted to introduce through HTTP2 were:
- High performance
However, HTTP2 will not replace HTTP1 anytime soon. In fact, it will work as an extension of its previous version.
What are the features available in HTTP2?
The upgraded features of HTTP2 are mentioned below:
- Multiplexed Streams: The original HTTP version only used a single stream, which uses to create a delay between the stream transmissions. Receiving media content via a single stream is both resource consuming and inefficient. The new HTTP2 stream uses a binary framing layer to improve the communication between the server and the client. The binary frame format eliminates the need to use optimization hacks and reduces latency to give a faster web performance.
- Server Push: This feature provides the server with additional cacheable information which is helpful in fulfilling future requests of the server. The server push feature eliminates another round of the request-respond trip and reduces the network latency. It also invalidates the ‘Cache Push’. The clients, while using HTTP2, also have the option of terminating pushed streams. The many advantages of server push include the saving of the pushed resources and reuse of the cached resources. The client has the freedom to limit the number of push streams.
- Binary Protocols: The HTTP2 protocol can transform a text protocol to a binary protocol, and this increases the capabilities of the latest HTTP. The previous HTTP version used text commands to complete request-respond cycles. On the other hand, HTTP2 uses binary commands to complete the same task. The use of binary protocol makes it easy to deal with the complication of framing. It also simplifies the implementation of controls which was previously confusing. The efforts that are needed to read binary codes are more than text codes, however, it makes it easier for the network to generate frames available in binary. Using binary protocols results in low overhead in parsing data and also make the system less prone to errors and gives a lighter network footprint by using efficient network utilization.
- Stream Prioritization: HTTP2 allows the client to provide priority to particular data streams. The stream prioritization feature allows the server to optimize network resource allocation in a way that it meets the requirement of the end-users. The working of stream prioritization is still a debated topic, however, it cannot be denied that development in this area is particularly vital for the long-term success of HTTP2. The advantages of this feature are that it uses network resource utilization efficiency and reduces the time to deliver the initial content request. It improves the speed of page load and enhances the user experience by optimizing the data communication that takes place between the server and the client.
- Stateful Header Compression: A user experience can only be enhanced when the website is rich in both content and graphics. The HTTP2 compresses an enormous number of redundant header frames. HPACK specification is used by HTTP2 for the header compression, which is a straightforward and secure way of getting the desired output. The first step in this process is compression of the individual value of each header by HPACK before it is transferred to the header. In the second phase, the server acquires encoded information and then it reconstructs the full header information again. The benefits of stateful header compression are sufficient stream prioritization and reduction in resource overhead. Both the large headers and the commonly used headers can be encoded and also this feature is not vulnerable to any security attacks.
The main benefits of HTTP2 protocol
In the contemporary world, it is imperative for the internet world to replace the old HTTP1.X and accept another promising and updated version. The HTTP2 will soon change the face of the web world. The top benefits of HTTP2 are:
- Provides superior web performance that includes better search engine optimization, full customer satisfaction, resource utilization, and high productivity.
- It optimizes the experience for mobile users by giving high performance and security.
- It has enhanced the data communication efficiency which will make the telco providers reduce the operation cost while still providing high-speed internet connectivity.
- It reduces network congestion and thus results in sparing resources.
- It provides media-rich experience to the users.
- Protection is provided to the sensitive data which is communicated between the servers and the client. It supports encryption and uses Transport Layer Security for better protection.
HTTP2 protocol will soon dominate the cyber world for good. It will carry the legacy of its previous version to give a better experience to the users. A revolution will begin as soon as a mass population starts using this superior technology.