A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding HTTP/2 for WordPress

HTTP/2 is a major milestone in the world of web technology, and understanding its benefits and implementation is crucial for website owners and developers. In this beginner’s guide to understanding HTTP/2 for WordPress, we will explore the current state of HTTP and delve into the core advantages of HTTP/2. We will also discuss how to implement HTTP/2 for WordPress in 2018.

HTTP, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991 and has since become one of the most widely adopted application protocols on the Internet. However, HTTP is just one layer in the Internet Protocol (IP) suite, which consists of four hierarchical layers responsible for establishing reliable connections for data exchange.

The topmost layer, called the Application Layer, is where HTTP operates and serves all the applications on the Internet. From viewing web pages to sending emails, various protocols within the application layer make these activities possible.

Despite its ubiquity, HTTP had not received a major update since 1997 until the creation of HTTP/2 in 2015. This lack of updates meant that newer applications were built on workarounds to overcome the limitations of HTTP/1.1. However, with the introduction of HTTP/2, a better protocol was created that seamlessly worked with existing applications while improving underlying technology.

One of the key improvements in HTTP/2 is multiplexing, which allows servers to send multiple files over a single connection. In contrast, HTTP/1.1 required individual connections for each resource, leading to slower website experiences. With multiplexing, load times and network resource consumption are significantly reduced, making HTTP/2 for WordPress an ideal choice to speed up WordPress sites.

Another improvement in HTTP/2 is the elimination of domain sharding. Previously, websites used domain sharding to serve resources from multiple sub-domains in order to overcome connection limits imposed by HTTP/1.1. However, with HTTP/2’s support for multiplexing, all resources can be sent directly in one connection, rendering domain sharding unnecessary.

HTTP/2 also introduces server push, which allows servers to send resources to clients without explicit requests. This saves a round trip and reduces network latency, resulting in faster and smoother applications. Additionally, HTTP/2 utilizes header compression, which reduces bandwidth consumption when transferring data between server and client.

Furthermore, HTTP/2 works seamlessly with existing TLS technology, providing advanced features such as fewer TLS handshakes, low resource consumption, and improved capabilities in reusing web sessions while eliminating vulnerabilities associated with HTTP/1.x.

While most modern browsers support HTTP/2, its mainstream adoption may take time. However, implementing HTTP/2 for WordPress is made easier by reliable WordPress hosting providers like WPEngine and Kinsta, who offer support for HTTP/2 and ensure a fully optimized experience for visitors who do not support the new protocol.

In conclusion, HTTP/2 is a significant update to one of the most important technologies in the world. While it may take time to become mainstream like HTTPS, understanding its benefits and implementation is crucial for website owners and developers. HTTP/2 for WordPress has the potential to revolutionize the web and provide faster loading websites. So, if you have the resources, it is definitely worth considering implementing HTTP/2 for your WordPress site.

If you have any thoughts or questions about HTTP/2 for WordPress, feel free to share them in the comments section below!

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