What is HTTP/2, and how do you know if your website is using it? HTTP/2 is a revision to the HTTP network protocol that is used to explore the web. You often see this at the beginning of websites addresses.
It is a protocol that dictates how the communication happens when the browser requests information to a server that contains the needed information. Why does this matter? It is important for SEO. HTTP/1 was the previous protocol that has served the web for many years.
You can think of HTTP/2 as the upgrade that positively impacts your site by making your website able to handle more requests at a time, speeding up the process. It does this by improving upon and even removing some of the workarounds that were required with HTTP/1.
HTTPS protocols add a layer of protection and security to your website while helping searchers find the information you are providing.
What Are The Pros of HTTP/2?
Why HTTP/2? HTTP/2 is binary instead of textual-based. This gives the ability for HTTP/2 to be multiplexed, meaning that it can receive multiple requests at a time over just one connection instead of having to have multiple connections to complete requests, as was the case with HTTP/1. HTTP/2 also supports header compression, saving bandwidth when searchers are making requests.
HTTP/1 had some compression but not for headers because the headers were being used. It can also anticipate requests and push needed assets to the server ahead of time while other elements are still loading.
What Are The Cons Of HTTP/2?
While the protocol makes sites far more secure, this can also mean some latency creating slower loading times for visitors. Work may need to be completed in other areas to make your website faster to make up this time for your users. Also, the server being able to push information can cause pushes of information that are never requested and not needed.
That being said, there is really no better option than HTTP/2 to upgrade your website speed and security.
How To Know If Your Website Is Using HTTP/2
Not sure if your website is using the HTTP/2 protocol? Here is how to check.
1. Open your website in the Google Chrome browser.
2. Open the Chrome developer tools and click on the “network” tab.
3. Select “all” by the filters and scroll down to choose “protocol.”
This will create a new protocol column. Then you will be able to see what aspects of the site are using H2 versus another protocol. You can also look for a blue lightning bolt by your search bar in Chrome. If it is there, the website is using HTTP/2.
If you do not use Chrome or this test is not working, Key CDN also has a tool for you to check. Copy your web address into the text bar and click “test.” The tool will let you know if your website is HTTP/2 supported. Check your website here.
How To Start Using HTTP/2 If You Are Not Already
If your site is not already using HTTP/2, you can enable it through your cPanel server. Look for Easy Apache 4. Click on customize and then search for HTTP/2 under Apache Modules. Click on install or enable and head to review and finish the install by clicking Provision.
If you do not have Easy Apache 4 available in your cPanel, you can look up directions for what your host uses. Some web hosts have already added HTTP/2 automatically. If you need help, you can reach out, and your host can help you with the correct directions.
If this feels overwhelming, you can hire a web optimization expert or web programmer to help you.
HTTTP/3 is set to be available later but will be a minor update. HTTP/2 is a higher performance upgrade at no cost and could be just what your website needs. Is your site using the upgrade?