HTTP Gets a Facelift

Carl Weinschenk
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Top 10 Technology Trends for 2015

A major step was taken on the Internet today. The next version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol – the infamous HTTP that precedes Internet addresses – was finalized. The next step is full standardization, according to TheNextWeb.

It is about time. HTTP, the protocol that lets data be uploaded and downloaded on the Internet, is no spring chicken. The last major overhaul was HTTP 1.1, which was released in 1999.

The advantages of HTTP/2 are great, according to The Register. They include faster page loading, longer connections, “server push” and earlier arrival of more items, added features to existing application programming interfaces (APIs), optimization techniques and more. The details are extremely geeky, but the bottom line isn’t: The new version is far sleeker, efficient and built for today’s Internet.

HTTP/2, which was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force HTTP Working Group, is based on SPDY and championed by Google. The Register writes that SPDY (of course, pronounced “speedy”) is an application-layer protocol that has been in use since Chrome 6. It is used by other browsers as well.

SPDY, which seems to be a name and not an acronym, offers features such as “multiplexing, header compression, prioritization and protocol negotiation” that are moving from SPDY to HTTP/2, the story says. In essence, SPDY is being folded into HTTP 2.0.


ZDNet’s Larry Dignan sees a benefit from HTTP/2 that will be driven by the way in which HTTP/2 is used:

In the long run, speed is likely to be the No. 2 advance from HTTP 2.0. Encryption in HTTP 2.0 will mean fewer attacks and overall snooping. Technically, HTTP 2.0 doesn't require better encryption, but Mozilla and Google won't support the standard without it. Add it up and HTTP 2.0 will bring encryption. Anyone adopting HTTP 2.0 will need to support Transport Layer Security to interoperate with a wide range of browsers.

The Verge points out that it will take “many months (and possibly years)” for widespread HTTP/2 use. The story says that HTTP hasn’t been static since HTTP 1.1 was introduced, but that HTTP/2 includes significant differences -- including those aimed at government surveillance issues raised by the Edward Snowden affair.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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