Every year around this time, retailers look for ways to optimize their sites for speed. They remove or reduce the size of images, manage their tags better, limit third-party content, subscribe to site acceleration services, or even deploy new servers.
But if your site is still running the 19-year-old HTTP/1.1 protocol, it’s not as fast as it can be. Comparison studies have shown that upgrading your site’s transport protocol to HTTP/2 can make your site up to 30% faster. Adoption of HTTP/2 continues to grow–more than 10% of the web is running on it now, according to W3 Techs. That includes such sites as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba.com is a recent HTTP/2 adopter.
If you need a refresher, HTTP/2 allows multiple requests to be sent from client to server, one after the other, on the same TCP connection, while responses to those requests can be received out of order – eliminating the need for multiple connections between the client and the server. This reduces network latency, which in turn makes web pages load faster. HTTP/2 also compresses HTTP headers, allows the server to push resources to the client that haven’t been requested yet, and allows the client to indicate to the servers which resources are more important than others.
The end result is that a browser client can make faster and fewer connections to a web host, speeding up the time it takes to download content from that server. The smaller content payloads and optimized TCP connections of HTTP/2 are especially ideal for mobile applications and sites.
There are various ways to start using HTTP/2. You can upgrade your web server to the latest versions of Apache and Nginx. Your hosting or CDN provider can upgrade your site to HTTP/2 even faster. No coding changes are required.
For more tips on how to make your site fast and reliable this holiday season, no matter how many customers you get, download our updated ebook, The Most Trafficked Time of the Year.