HTTP / 2 is Another Way to Increase Site Performance (Instruction)

In this article, we’ll talk about what HTTP / 2. Let’s arrange a kind of check, test: this is just a marketing word or really a sure way to improve the performance of the site (and this can be seen by conducting online testing and comparing the analysis results).

There are two types of web developers – those who are already using HTTP / 2 to improve site performance and those who are willing to use HTTP / 2 in their future projects. If you haven’t heard of HTTP / 2 yet, then you have a lot to catch up on in this matter. Let’s get started.

So what exactly is HTTP / 2. Is this just a marketing word, or is it really something worth considering?

HTTP / 2 is the latest version of the famous HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which is used on the World Wide Web. This protocol makes it possible to separate text and multimedia information using so-called web links between unconnected nodes such as a browser and a server. For example, your browser uses this protocol to download this article. But there would be no Internet without the HTTP protocol!

Before reviewing the benefits of HTTP / 2 and explaining why it will speed up your site, let’s first understand how data is transferred between independent systems.


HTTP uses client-server technology. This means that your browser (Firefox, Chrome, etc.) is a “client” and our blog is running on a hosting server. For example, this article can be identified and downloaded using a URL – Uniform Resource Locator (unique resource locator). If you open the URL for this article, your client makes an HTTP request to the server and receives the information in HTML format. As soon as the data transfer (at the transport layer via the TCP protocol) is completed, your browser will display the received response in HTML code to display the text that you are currently reading.

Historical Fact: The term “hypertext” was first used by Ted Nelson in 1965 (Xanadu project). HTTP and HTML were created by Tim Berners-Lee and his team at CERN in 1989. Incidentally, the first site was published on August 6, 1991.

The network protocol supports sessions and authentication. A session is an open sequence of request-response transactions over a TCP connection to a specific port. Port 80 is used for HTTP and 443 for HTTP connections. HTTPS is HTTP over SSL / TLS, which means that an end-to-end connection is created over an encrypted channel using the Transport Layer Security (TLS) cryptographic protocol.

HTTP / 1.0 and HTTP / 1.1

Before HTTP / 2 was introduced as a standard, the previous HTTP / 1.1 protocol was the official standard. HTTP / 1.1 is an improved version of the original HTTP / 1.0, which was officially released in 1996 SEO company. The very first version of HTTP / 1.1 was introduced in 1997, and an improved and updated version was released in 1999 and again in 2014. The main difference between these two legacy standards is in supporting multiple connections in a single request.

HTTP / 1.0 only supports one connection per resource request, while HTTP / 1.1 allows the same connection to be used multiple times, i.e. a permanent connection is established. This results in less latency and helps to load a modern website faster. Latency is the time between a request (reason) and a response (result). This parameter was improved further in HTTP / 2, but we will explain the main advantages of the new standard later.


A little higher we talked about requests to the server. HTTP defines several request methods that can be used for different purposes and actions on a particular resource. The most common methods are GET and POST, which should be familiar to you.

When you call a URL by clicking on a regular link, your browser makes a GET request. You can see the GET parameters right in the URL, for example? Id = 42. In this example, the variable GET is an identifier with a value of 42. When you subscribe to the service by entering your data in the form and clicking on the submit button, your client will make a POST request. Besides these methods, HTTP supports several other methods that are usually not used by the browser when surfing the Internet. These methods are:

  • HEAD (similar to the GET method, but without the response body),
  • PUT (changes or creates a resource),
  • DELETE (deletes a resource),
  • TRACE (echo request),
  • OPTIONS (returns supported HTTP methods),
  • CONNECT (converts requests to TCP / IP tunnel),
  • PATCH (applies changes to the resource).


Let’s take a quick look at the responses to queries. The server response after the request contains not only the response body and HTML code to display the loaded page, but also response header fields. These fields contain important information and parameters about the HTTP transaction on the established connection, such as the encryption algorithm used or the caching mechanism. For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that these important parameters are also sent in the request header fields.

The first line of the HTTP response always contains a so-called status code, which helps the client handle the response correctly. Who doesn’t know the infamous “Server Error 500” message. It is this status code 500 that was sent by the server to the browser due to internal server problems. There are several main categories identified by the first digit:

  • 1 [xx] – informational,
  • 2 [xx] – successful,
  • 3 [xx] – forwarding,
  • 4 [xx] – client error,
  • 5 [xx] – server error.


HTTP / 2 supports most of the high-level syntax of the HTTP / 1.1 version. For example, the request methods or status codes are the same. The most important change is the way in which data packets are created and transmitted between nodes.

The server can transmit data to the client even if they have not yet been requested by the browser, but are needed by the browser to fully display the page. Additional requests can be multiplexed (requests or responses are combined) and pipelined (multiple requests without waiting for corresponding responses) on a single TCP connection. These improvements reduce latency and lead to better page load speeds for that contact on this site

So what does it take to start enjoying the benefits of HTTP / 2? Both client and server must understand and support this standard. All popular modern browsers already have built-in support for HTTP / 2 at the moment. Your browser will automatically load web pages over HTTP / 2 if the server supports it. (that is, if enabled).


Setting up HTTP / 2 is really easy! As always, Plesk did all the hard work for you while you were resting and doing your business. If you already have Plesk on your server, then you just need to take a few clicks to enable support for a modern, fast networking standard. 

The Plesk team has created the Security Advisor security extension that allows you to activate HTTP / 2, as well as activate SSL certificate and HTTPS support in 1 click in WordPress. Open Plesk Extensions Directory and install Security Advisor. The extension is completely free and will not only protect your site, but also speed up!


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