Chapter 2. The road to HTTP/2


This chapter covers

  • Examining the performance problems in HTTP/1.1
  • Understanding the workarounds for HTTP/1.1 performance issues
  • Investigating real-world examples of HTTP/1 problems
  • SPDY and how it improved HTTP/1
  • How SPDY was standardized into HTTP/2
  • How web performance changes under HTTP/2

Why do we need HTTP/2? The web works fine under HTTP/1, doesn’t it? What is HTTP/2 anyway? In this chapter, I answer these questions with real-world examples and show why HTTP/2 is not only necessary, but also well overdue.

HTTP/1.1 is what most of the internet is built upon and has been functioning reasonably well for a 20-year-old technology. During that time, however, web use has exploded, and we’ve moved from simple static websites to fully interactive pages that cover online banking, shopping, booking holidays, watching media, socializing, and nearly every other aspect of our lives.

Internet availability and speed are increasing with technologies such as broadband and fiber for offices and homes, which means that speeds are many times better than the old dial-up speeds that users had to deal with when the internet was launched. Even mobile has seen technologies such as 3G and 4G bring broadband-level speeds on the move at reasonable, consumer-level prices.

2.1. HTTP/1.1 and the current World Wide Web

2.2. Workarounds for HTTP/1.1 performance issues

2.3. Other issues with HTTP/1.1

2.4. Real-world examples

2.5. Moving from HTTP/1.1 to HTTP/2

2.6. What HTTP/2 means for web performance