HTTP2 – What it is and why publishers should care
July 24, 2019

Even though switching to HTTP2 promises faster and more secure web browsing, it does propose opportunities and challenges for digital publishers – especially if it limits the ability to generate ad revenue. So, should you make the switch? If so, what are the pros and cons of doing so?

HTTP/2 is the newest version of HTTP (Hypertext Transport Protocol), the fundamental protocol used by the World Wide Web, which defines:

  • How data is delivered from one computer to another
  • How messages are formatted and transmitted
  • What actions web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands

Basically, HTTP is how websites are delivered to your computer, and the next version of it is about to make it much faster.

What are the benefits of HTTP2?

  • Faster: HTTP/2 is faster than the current standard as it eliminates many obstacles of the protocol.
  • More Secure: Because HTTP/2 is encrypted by default, security is increased as a result.
  • Mobile friendly: one of its features compresses high request amounts – which results in faster downloads.
  • It is backward compatible: In case a browser or a device where an application is running doesn’t support HTTP/2, it will easily fall back to HTTP1.1.
  • It is seamless on the client side.
how http2 works

Why should publishers consider switching to HTTP2?

User satisfaction is the main source of revenue for publishers. There is a direct correlation between page-load times, attention and revenue, since content consumption increase as speed increases.

Privacy concerns have made the headlines several times in last couple of years – therefore, ensuring the utmost browsing security is definitely a must. Using HTTP2 would, in turn, increase reader trust and loyalty.

What’s the catch?

  • Ads: switching to HTTP2 might affect ad revenue since very few content delivery networks are able to serve content over an encrypted connection. Although it is not a deal-breaker, there is definitely some work needed in terms of web infrastructure, of course after weighing the benefits of adopting this new standard.
  •  HTTPS: if your website isn’t already migrated to HTTPS, it’s better to do so – although it’s not an actual requirement. Meaning if you really want to take advantage of the performance benefits HTTP2 protocol, it’s best to upgrade to HTTPS too.
  • Browser use: although the majority of your users would be using compatible browsers, some might not. In addition, not all the websites support HTTP/2. That’s why current page speed optimization techniques will remain necessary.

HTPP/2 is slowly but surely becoming widely spread. Are you currently using HTTP2? Get in touch!

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