As a site owner, you’ve probably already heard of HTTP, even if you don’t know exactly what it is. The world of website development is filled with acronyms and shortcuts that can befuddle even the most experienced programmers. To make things easier, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you find out what HTTP/3 is, how it works and whether it will make your website faster.
What is HTTP/3?
HTTP, or HyperText Transfer Protocol, has been around for decades. In fact, it’s been a critical element of the internet since it came into existence. Technically, it’s a network protocol, but, in layman’s terms, it’s the process that allows users to open webpages.
When a user types in a web address or clicks a link, HTTP is used to connect to the server and transfer the information to the user’s screen. First launched to the public back in 1996, the original version of HTTP was used for almost 20 years, with the HTTP/2 update only arriving in 2015.
How Does HTTP/3 Work?
Although HTTP was revolutionary in its day, the methodologies it used were seen as slow as cumbersome as the internet evolved. To transfer data, for example, HTTP opened a new TCP connection every time a request/response exchange was made. This added a delay (or increased the latency) as TCP and TLC handshakes were required every time the user requested data and the server responded.
While HTTP/2 did partially resolve this issue with HTTP streams, others remained. Packet loss continued in HTTP/2, for example, which meant that users were subject to on-going slow speeds due to head-of-line blocking.
With HTTP/3, however, TCP is no longer required. Instead, HTTP/3 works with a new internet transport protocol known as QUIC. Multiple QUIC streams are capable of sharing one QUIC connection, which means that there won’t be numerous handshakes to slow down loading times.
Crucially, QUIC packets are situated on top of UDP datagrams, which means that streams are delivered independently from one another. If one incidence of packet loss occurs, it won’t affect other streams.
What’s more – HTTP streams can take place on top of QUIC streams, which means site owners can continue to get all the benefits of HTTP/2, while using QUIC to prevent head-of-line blocking.
Will HTTP/3 Make Your Website Faster?
Yes. Switching to HTTP/3 should make your website noticeably faster. The use of QUIC means that the problems which dogged both the original HTTP and HTTP/2 can now be eradicated, which results in faster loading times.
In addition to this, QUIC combines the three components of a standard TCP handshake. Effectively, this means that encryption and authentication take place by default, which also serves to increase website speed. Furthermore, the changes introduced by QUIC can enhance site security too.
Is It Worth It?
Now you know the basics behind HTTP/3 and QUIC, you can start deciding whether you want to incorporate it into your future website development. One of the major factors to consider is whether or not it’s compatible with the software and platforms you already use. Fortunately, HTTP/3 is already supported by CloudFlare, which is compatible with all the hosting plans offered by CanSpace. Additionally, HTTP/3 support will be rolled out natively later this year as soon as it is supported by cPanel. With so many major developers already making the switch, it’s a good indication that upgrading to HTTP/3 will be worthwhile.
As you know, website speed is a determining factor for your success on the internet. Your loading times have a major impact on your SEO rankings, and you’ll notice an increase in bounce rate if your page loading speeds start to drop. That’s because users want super-fast speeds with no delays.
Whether a web page consists of text, images, videos or a combination of all three, it’s vital that all content can be delivered instantaneously if you want to keep your users happy.
Outperform Your Competitors with HTTP/3
You might think that your currently loading speeds are just fine but, chances are, your users won’t. As they become more used to the superfast speeds HTTP/3 sites can offer, you could experience a reduction in website traffic, conversions and revenue if you stick with HTTP/2 for too long.
By making the switch to HTTP/3 and QUIC now, you can deliver enhanced speed and security to your users and outperform your competitors from the get-go. To learn more or to talk to us about your specific needs, contact us today!