At its core, the HTTP transfer protocol is a simple set of rules that browsers and web servers use as a basis for exchanging content and files. It provides both the engine and the fuel lines for the internet at the same time. We use HTTP to access our favorite websites, read news, watch videos on YouTube and communicate with each other on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
HTTP has hardly been reworked or expanded upon at all since its very first version in the early 1990s. The most recent HTTP version, HTTP 1.1, has been serving us well for 15 years now.
However, this old protocol is increasingly becoming a bottleneck for modern and dynamic multimedia websites.
Websites are getting better and more complex, our browsers are constantly providing new features and optimizations, while our devices our bringing more power and new formats. Who wants to drive a Tesla Model S P100D on a cow path?
Our websites and devices need a cutting-edge protocol that supplies them with content quickly, securely and efficiently. That protocol is HTTP/2.
Activating HTTP/2 for 1&1 Web Hosting
With 1&1 web hosting, your website is provided with HTTP/2 automatically as soon as you activate SSL encryption for your website.
What is the relationship between SSL encryption and HTTP/2?
All browsers need a connection that is encrypted with SSL to use HTTP/2. This ensures secure, encrypted data transfer between the browser and web server.
A welcome side-effect: SSL encryption is rated positively by Google and other search engines, resulting in a better position in hit lists.
What Are the Benefits of HTTP/2 in Comparison to HTTP 1.1?
HTTP 1.1 was published in 1999 and has not been further developed since then. In the meantime, websites have become more complex and powerful.
HTTP/2 has been developed and optimized to meet the requirements of modern websites. It offers new features for making websites quicker online and lets browsers and web servers exchange more content with each other in an efficient, compressed and flexible way using multiplexing.
The protocol reduces the number of connections required to fully load the page while at the same time supplying content in the optimum order for loading the page quickly and correctly.
These improvements are of particular importance in the post-PC era, because they offer users in crowded mobile data networks and areas where there is no access to high-speed broadband significantly shorter response times, quicker page loading and reduced data consumption.
Multiplexing Accelerates the Transfer of Data
HTTP/2 transfers all of the data in both directions with one single connection. This method is called multiplexing. The descriptive information (meta information) provided in “frames” ensures that the right pairs of requests and responses can be found reliably during the transfer, regardless of the order in which they are processed. The websites load more quickly as a result.
A short sample calculation: For the average WordPress website, around 40 files have to be transferred between the web server and the browser. With HTTP 1.1, only a maximum of 8 files can be transferred in parallel, and a connection is opened and closed again for each individual file. This process creates unnecessary overhead and latencies.
To perform the same task, HTTP/2 requires just one single connection between the browser and web server, via which all 40 files are transferred in parallel in both directions. As another analogy, multiplexing is like visiting an exhibition as a group with a group ticket, where everyone enters through an open door instead of waiting in the queue with individual tickets.
Furthermore, the web server can respond to requests in any order using HTTP/2, as soon as the web server has processed them (see figure 1). As a result, requests that need more time no longer slow down simple requests and the websites are loaded more quickly.
Header Compression Reduces Data Volumes
All files that are transferred between the browser and the web server, such as images, scripts, texts or cookies, contain “header” information. HTTP 1.1 transfers all of the header information for each individual file even though this information does not change from file to file.
HTTP/2 sends the header information only once per connection instead, and also compresses the information. Websites with a large number of files load much more quickly as a result.
Intelligent Prioritization for Rapid Page Loading
Objects such as stylesheets (CSS files) are important for loading and displaying a website correctly and should be loaded at the very start.
To remedy this issue, HTTP/2 enables all modern browsers to prioritize objects so that the web server can deliver important objects first. This prioritization lets pages be loaded quickly and displayed correctly.
HTTP/2 Websites Can Still Be Opened Using HTTP 1.1
Browsers that do not support HTTP/2 can display websites with HTTP/2 without any issue. In this case, the content is delivered via the HTTP 1.1 protocol. The user does not notice anything unusual. However, nowadays all of the latest browsers can work with HTTP/2.
HTTP/2 Is Available for Every Website in 1&1 Web Hosting
All 1&1 web hosting servers support the HTTP/2 transfer standard for websites with active SSL encryption.
What that means for you is you get the extra security of Activating SSL with just a few clicks and automatically benefit from the improved speeds for our web hosting platform and HTTP/2. Visitors to your websites just need the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Opera to get the benefits of HTTP/2.