Why the new HTTP is different and why the world should care

Switching to HTTP/2

It will probably take several years for the whole Internet to switch over to HTTP/2. The new protocol only works if both the client and server support it.

For this reason, you can expect the old and new HTTP to coexist in parallel for the foreseeable future. Practically speaking, this dual functionality means web browsers will initially contact a server with the old version 1.1 and then use HTTP/2 if the server supports it.

Browsers currently use an encrypted HTTP message to initiate a request to upgrade to HTTP/2. If a server accepts the request, the connection automatically switches to HTTP/2. However, the use of TLS is not necessarily required for HTTP/2. According to the specification, the connection can also use an unencrypted HTTP/2 connection via TCP.

In an effort to strengthen encryption on the web, major browser manufacturers Mozilla and Google currently only support HTTP/2 in combination with TLS. The specification requires TLS 1.2 or later for TLS connections, and data compression with TLS is not allowed.

You can visit the Akamai website [7] to find out if your web browser already supports HTTP/2. If you visit the site with a suitable web browser, you will see an impressive demo that shows how quickly images load using HTTP/2 instead of HTTP/1.1.

Outlook

HTTP/2 offers advantages for both users and web servers because both sides can save significant storage space and CPU time. Technologies for reducing the number of resources, for example, CSS Sprites and resource inlining, will no longer be necessary. The full impact of the new HTTP standard won't be known until its new functions are fully integrated into web APIs.

The Author

Kai Spichale is a software architect at Adesso AG. He deals with software architecture, API design, and NoSQL. He is also the author of numerous professional articles and a regular speaker at technical conferences.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

SINGLE ISSUES
 
SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
TABLET & SMARTPHONE APPS
Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Server Name Indication

    Server Name Indication lets you operate more than one SSL-protected service per IP address.

  • TCP Fast Open

    With TCP Fast Open, Google introduces a protocol extension, implemented in the Linux kernel, that avoids unnecessary latency in network traffic and promises up to 41 percent acceleration, depending on the application.

  • Remote Terminal Service with NX

    NX provides fast terminal services, even over slow connections.

  • Socks 5

    Socks is a universal proxy protocol for TCP and UDP that allows internal hosts to securely pass the firewall and authenticates users. This article describes the latest version of the Socks proxy protocol and shows how to implement it.

  • Twisted

    The Twisted framework makes it so easy to create network-aware applications in Python. Twisted speaks all the major Internet protocols, from mail through chat, and it can handle encryption. We’ll show you how to set up a personal web server with Twisted.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

News