Monday 10th December 2018

HTTP/2

  • HTTP/2 is the first update to the HTTP protocol in nearly 20 years;
  • Theoretically, it improves performance; however, it’s not without its critics;
  • You need to implement SSL to take advantage of HTTP/2.

HTTP/2

  • HTTP/2 is the first update to the HTTP protocol in nearly 20 years;
  • Theoretically, it improves performance; however, it’s not without its critics;
  • You need to implement SSL to take advantage of HTTP/2.

Compare hosts

We compare 18 web hosts against 56 metrics, including monthly and annual pricing and bandwidth, CPU, read/write, storage and database restrictions.

Compare support for HTTP/2

Listed below is a comparison table outlining which hosts support HTTP/2. 

What is HTTP?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. A protocol is a communication standard, or a method of determining how two systems which need to communicate should communicate.

Every time you load a web page via your browser you initiate HTTP requests. When you visit a URL in your address bar you aren’t necessarily requesting one file but potentially hundreds if not thousands of files.

Each web page has dependencies, like JavaScript, CSS, image and other files, all of which are required in order for a browser to render web pages in the way we’ve come to expect.

Under HTTP/1.1, each request is made individually to the server and the server responds to each request, in the order it was made, with a HTTP header (a response which tells the browser – also known as the client – whether the request was successful, or what to do next).

What is HTTP/2?

HTTP/2 is the first update to the HTTP/1.1 protocol in nearly 20 years.

In 2013 Google engineers developed a new protocol called SPDY which served as the precursor to HTTP/2. SPDY was developed by Google as a solution to problems it identified with HTTP/1.1 that were negatively affecting its server resources.

In 2015, Google announced it will remove support for SPDY in favour of HTTP/2.

SPDY didn’t replace HTTP 1.1 but complimented it. One of the primary advancements made under SDPY was something called multiplexing, which aims to chain requests together or rather serve multiple requests in parallel over a single connection.

In other words, across a single HTTP connection HTTP/1.1 can only facilitate a single request/response at a time (i.e. it makes a request, waits for a response, makes another request, waits for another response, etc.), whereas HTTP/2 can facilitate multiple requests/responses in parallel.

Supports HTTP/2?

The table below indicates which of the web host packages we’ve reviewed support HTTP/2. The comparison below is only for the cheapest packages for each web hosts. Some of the web hosts listed as not supporting HTTP/2 may support it for more expensive packages. 

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Click on a host to read the full review.

Web hostSupports HTTP/2?Visit
GoDaddyNoVisit
Heart InternetNSVisit
1&1YesVisit
NamecheapNoVisit
HostingerNoVisit
FatCowNoVisit
Just HostNoVisit
GreenGeeksYesVisit
FasthostsNoVisit
A2 HostingNoVisit
DreamhostNoVisit
HostGatorNoVisit
InMotion HostingNoVisit
iPageNoVisit
Host PapaNoVisit
BluehostNoVisit
SitegroundYesVisit

Unlike HTTP/1.1, HTTP/2 is asynchronous, which means responses are given without concern for the order in which requests are made.

This theoretically has significant ramifications for the speed at which data is transferred between server and client (browser).

HTTP/2 also permits servers to issue proactive ‘push’ responses, whereby files are served without a request from the client.

This said, HTTP/2 isn’t without criticism. Initially, the group responsible for proposing the new standard attempted to introduce an encryption requirement into the specification. This was widely criticized and, eventually, overruled.

However, the largest browsers won’t initiate HTTP/2 requests without encryption, therefore it’s a de facto requirement, if not an official one.

Critics have also pointed to the extra computational costs posed from, as they argue, needlessly encrypting all communications. Proponents believe the computational costs are negligible.