HTTP/2 Hosting Benefits: What You Need to Know

HTTP/2 Hosting Benefits: What You Need to Know

HTTP/2 Web Hosting

with cPanel, SSD, CDN, SSL, PHP 7

Every time you visit a web page, your browser fetches it by requesting all the assets of the page from a web server. Since the birth of the web, this has mostly been done via HTTP/1.1.

As time has passed, and technology has evolved, and websites have become ever more complex and asset-heavy, the HTTP/1.1 protocol has increasingly come under strain, with a lot of workarounds needed for dealing with performance issues.

developers at work

Web pages, as we know them today, are often stuffed with resources—such as images, text, fonts, etc.—which make them much heavier than those of the 1990s or even 2000s. Accordingly, it takes more time for them to load, so web designers and developers have come up with nifty workarounds to duck the issue. Still, it has become obvious that there’s a need for an update to the HTTP protocol itself.

HTTP/2 will bring some changes to the way pages are delivered to the browser. While ordinary Internet users might not see a big difference, designers and web developers will notice quite some. This article will look at what those changes are, and how they will affect you as a proficient tech user.

How HTTP/1 Works

To fetch the web page you’d like to visit, your browser communicates with the server. They interchange messages—the browser requesting the images, fonts and other resources needed with separate requests, and the server, in its turn, sending them as responses.

As a result, the flood of data through many connections causes congestion, and the page load speed slows down. To overcome the problem of too many requests being sent, and to make the best use of HTTP/1, inventive developers have used inlining, concatenation and image spriting. Fortunately for them, puzzling over the speed of performance will largely be a thing of the past when HTTP/2 comes.

developers at work

How HTTP/2 Will Work

Your browser will still send requests to a server and get responses with the assets needed for the web page to look as it should, but some nuances in between will change. HTTP/2 brings new features such as multiplexed streams, server push, header compression and binary format—each of which I’ll examine in turn.

Multiplexed Streams

Remember the congestions caused by many connections passing the resources such as text, fonts and pictures from the server to your browser? Multiplexing eliminates this problem by making those assets into smaller parts, passing them all via one connection, and then reassembling the resources after they’ve reached the final destination, the browser.

Server Push

Server push represents a more efficient way to deliver assets to a browser. In an HTTP/1 environment, the HTML page is sent to the browser, the browser has to parse it and decide what assets it might need, then request those assets from the server.

HTTP/2 is more proactive in this regard, sending assets that the browser is likely to need without it having to ask. These assets go to the browser’s cache, and are available immediately if and when they’re needed, which is a plus for performance.

Header Compression

In HTTP/1, every request sent has a small piece of additional data attached—HTTP headers—that describe how a browser or a server behaves. On average, browsers are able to make about six connections at once, but given that the number of connections needed to load a typical web page can be up around 100, this leaves a lot of data to be retrieved, which takes time and bandwidth.

When an HTTP/2 connection is established, all the headers are packed into one compressed block to be sent as a unity. It gets across faster, and when the transmission is finished, the header block is decoded.

Binary Instead of Textual Format

The textual format has some extra overhead and needs to be refined, while the binary one does not need any parsing. It’s also a lot more compact. Additional work of a server means additional time to wait for the web page to be loaded. That is why the binary format, with its being easier to process, is a justified enhancement.

developers at work

What Developers Will Be Able to Do Differently Now

Developers will no longer have to sprite images, do inlining and concatenate files, because there will be no need to reduce the number of requests on a web page. Basically, this is going to be the biggest change in their routine. However, there is more to be said about the internal changes that might somehow affect their work.

Things to Be Aware Of

Though it’s not required by the actual HTTP/2 specification, most browsers supporting HTTP/2 will require HTTPS encryption. This means that, if your HTTP/2 site is not served over an encrypted connection, visitors will either have to find some other client to visit your site or miss out.

Although there’s something of a push these days for sites to be served via HTTPS, this requirement by browsers has drawn criticism, and will no doubt represent a stumbling block for some considering the switch to HTTP/2. (For more tips on What HTTPS is, and how to implement it, read SitePoint’s recent introduction to HTTPS.)

The web will transition painlessly for the public. The modifications and upgrades needed for the new version of the protocol to work will take place in servers and browsers. Servers will be updated over time to eventually support both protocols. Browsers supporting the new protocol will switch to HTTP/2 automatically. At the same time, the older ones will not understand it. As a developer, you’ll need to know whether both your browser and the server you are using support HTTP/2 to ensure the connection will be upgraded to it.

Some Controversy

While many are enthusiastic about HTTP/2, others, such as Poul-Henning Kamp, are not so impressed. Kamp sees HTTP/2 as “really just a grandiose name for HTTP/1.2”, and suggests that it will most likely not last long, if it takes off at all.

According to him, the new protocol does not solve actual problems, but rather concentrates too much on bandwidth. A better focus, he suggests, would be to kill cookies as a concept and replace them with a session/identity facility. That would go some way to improving privacy in a world of heightened security concerns. As it is, HTTP/2, Kamp argues, does nothing to significantly improve privacy.

See the Difference

This Akamai demo illustrates how resources are loaded concurrently in the two versions of the protocol. The first picture is loaded via HTTP/1 and six concurrent connections (if you are using Google Chrome), while the second one comes as a whole via HTTP/2 and all parts loaded simultaneously.

akamai demo screenshot

If you’d like to have a more profound look at how differently data is loaded through the connections in the protocols, check out this golang.org example. It lets you try different latency settings, so that you can see how data would be loaded concurrently on devices of different capacity. The longer the delay, the more visible it is that HTTP/2 wins in terms of performance.

Golang gophertiles screenshot

Bottom Line

HTTP/2 is going to come softly for ordinary users, and with a few choices to be made by those working with the web.

In general, sites will be more secure and will load faster. The protocol does not bring any cardinal changes, possibly because such changes are more difficult to implement—both technically and politically. This is why HTTP/2 will possibly not serve us that long.

The world of technology is evolving more rapidly each year, so we might need something else in a few years. My personal hope is that the next protocol will be more flexible, and braver in meeting the challenges of changing technologies.

original source: https://www.sitepoint.com/http2-the-pros-the-cons-and-what-you-need-to-know/

Cloudflare Hosting with SSD

How CloudFlare increases speed and security of your site

CloudFlare, a web performance and security company, is excited to announce our partnership with LogicWeb! If you haven’t heard about CloudFlare before, our value proposition is simple: we’ll make any website twice as fast and protect it from a broad range of web threats.

Today, hundreds of thousands of websites—ranging from individual blogs to e-commerce sites to the websites of Fortune 500 companies to national governments—use CloudFlare to make their sites faster and more secure. We power more than 65 billion monthly page views—more than Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Zynga, AOL, Apple, Bing, eBay, PayPal and Instagram combined—and over 25% of the Internet’s population regularly passes through our network.

Faster web performance

CloudFlare is designed to take a great hosting platform like LogicWeb and make it even better.

We run 86 data centers [link to http://www.cloudflare.com/network-map] strategically located around the world. When you sign up for CloudFlare, we begin routing your traffic to the nearest data center.

As your traffic passes through the data centers, we intelligently determine what parts of your website are static versus dynamic. The static portions are cached on our servers for a short period of time, typically less than 2 hours before we check to see if they’ve been updated. By automatically moving the static parts of your site closer to your visitors, the overall performance of your site improves significantly.

CloudFlare’s intelligent caching system also means you save bandwidth, which means saving money, and decreases the load on your servers, which means your web application will run faster and more efficiently than ever. On average, CloudFlare customers see a 60% decrease in bandwidth usage, and a 65% in total requests to their servers. The overall effect is that CloudFlare will typically cut the load time for pages on your site by 50% which means higher engagement and happier visitors.

Broad web security

Over the course of 2011, CloudFlare identified a 700% increase in the number of distributed denial of service attacks [link to https://blog.cloudflare.com/2011-the-year-of-the-ddos] (DDoS) we track on the Internet (see the chart below). As attacks like these increase, CloudFlare is stepping up to protect sites.

CloudFlare’s security protections offer a broad range of protections [link to http://www.cloudflare.com/features-security] against attacks such as DDoS, hacking or spam submitted to a blog or comment form. What is powerful about our approach is that the system gets smarter the more sites that are part of the CloudFlare community. We analyze the traffic patterns of hundreds of millions of visitors in real time and adapt the security systems to ensure good traffic gets through and bad traffic is stopped.

In time, our goal is nothing short of making attacks against websites a relic of history. And, given our scale and the billions of different attacks we see and adapt to every year, we’re well on our way to achieving that for sites on the CloudFlare network.

Signing up

Any website can deploy CloudFlare, regardless of your underlying platform. By integrating closely with LogicWeb, we make the process of setting up CloudFlare “1 click easy” through your existing LogicWeb cPanel dashboard. Just look for the CloudFlare icon, choose the domain you want to enable, and click the orange cloud. That’s it!

We’ve kept the price as low as possible and plans offered through LogicWeb are free. Moreover, we never charge you for bandwidth or storage, therefore saving you tons via reduced bandwidth costs.

For site owners who would like to take advantage of CloudFlare’s advanced offerings, we also offer a ‘Pro’ tier of service for $20/month. The ‘Pro’ tier includes all of the ‘Free’ tier’s offerings, as well as extra features like SSL, full web application firewall and faster analytics.

We’re proud that every day more than a thousand new sites, including some of the largest on the web, join the CloudFlare community. If you’re looking for a faster, safer website, you’ve got a good start with LogicWeb, but the next step is to join the CloudFlare community.