HTTP/2: Year in Review

2015 was a big year for HTTP/2, after three years being drafted and revised it finally was submitted as a proposed standard as RFC 7540. This has resulted in a frenzy of product releases and tools to help organizations transition to HTTP/2. Below are some of the highlights.

Apple announces support

In June at WWDC Apple quietly announced support for HTTP/2. They were the last major browser vendor to announce or release support. With this announcement global browser support is now at 70% according to

Apache and NGINX release support for HTTP/2

Two of the most popular web servers on the market both released support for HTTP/2. In September NGINX announced support and was soon followed by Apache in October. Shortly after NGINX support was released popular blogging platform Wordpress released support as well as CDN provider CloudFlare.

LoadImpact launches service to test performance improvements

Want to know what your site’s performance will be like when you switch to HTTP/2. The folks over at LoadImpact have launched a site to provide an approximation of the performance benefits of a given URL.

A Rise in HTTPS URLs

According to the number of websites that are now available via HTTPS increased from 14% to 24% between January 1st and December 15, 2015. Given that all browsers are requiring HTTPS for HTTP/2 I am attributing this increase to HTTP/2.

GoogleBot will support HTTP/2

In November, Google announced that the GoogleBot will soon be crawling websites with HTTP/2. This could give sites that support HTTP/2 a boost in search rankings as page speed is a ranking factor.

HTTP/2 adoption metrics

A group of researchers from Telefonica Research, Case Western Reserve University and Carnegie Mellon University have launched a dashboard showing sites on the top 1 million Alexa sites that announce support, partially support and truly support HTTP/2. The chart below shows the increase in support over the last year.

W3Techs captures metrics on HTTP/2 adoption based on the top 10 million websites as reported by Alexa. As of December 29, 2015 they report that 5.2% of all websites use HTTP/2, considering the RFC was only finalized 6 months ago this is a pretty remarkable adoption rate. For comparison it took SPDY until July of this year to pass the 5% adoption rate.

Given the rapid adoption rate of HTTP/2 in the first six months, coupled with the fact that Chrome and Firefox will be deprecating support for SPDY in 2016, I wouldn’t be surprised if next year the adoption rate for HTTP/2 is above 25%.

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