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First HTTP update since 1999, HTTP/2 promises to increase your browsing speed.

First HTTP update since 1999, HTTP/2 promises to increase your browsing speed.

For the first time since 1999, there has been an update to the HTTP protocole. HTTP/2 should perform better in today's world, which should in turn allow us to benefit from faster Web browsing. 

That being said, before making changes to your website to become HTTP/2 compatible, we highly recommend you make sure that your users are using a browser that's HTTP/2 compatible (Internet Explorer 11+, Microsoft Edge, Firefox 39+, Google Chrome 42+, Safari 9+, etc.).

Best practices that become obsolete

Thanks to this new protocole, we can now download lots of files at the same time, something that was somewhat limited in HTTP/1.1. Previously, we needed to follow these best practices to make sure you get an optimized browsing experience: 

  • Use sprites in your images;
  • Concatenate your files;
  • Use sub-domains to allow visitors to download multiple files at the same time;
  • Integrate your images directly in your CSS files;
  • etc.

All of these tricks will have to stop since it will now become faster to use lots of connexions to small files rather than a single connexion for a large file.

What do I need to do to be HTTP/2 compatible?

If you want your website to enter the HTTP/2 era, here's a list of what you should to on your current website: 

  • Make sure your website is hosted on a server that supports HTTP/2
  • Make sure your website uses the HTTPS protocole (this is also good for your SEO)
  • In the vast majority of cases, do not use sprites (as stated earlier, HTTP/2 manages multiple connexions faster than a single connexion to a large file)
  • Do not put your images directly in your CSS files
  • Do not concatenate your CSS and JS files (again, you'll be better off only downloading the CSS and JS files that are used on that specific page instead of downloading everything, eventhough you don't use it)
  • Do not share your ressources on multiple sub-domains (with HTTP/2, no need to use multiple domain names to download multiple files faster)

Do you think it's too early to pass to HTTP/2 or do you believe that the future belongs to those who adopt quickly? Only time will tell...