CloudFlare Now Offers HTTP/2 Server Push Support for All Customers

CloudFlare, an Internet performance and security company, has introduced HTTP/2 Server Push support for all its customers. HTTP/2 Server Push is the ”next generation” Internet standard aimed at speeding up websites and mobile applications. CloudFlare is turning it on for free for all of its 4 million customers.

HTTP/2 Server Push enables web servers to provide content to site visitors without waiting for a request. This builds on CloudFlare’s support of HTTP/2, announced last year, that automatically speeds up web properties for all customers with the latest version of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

HTTP/2 was built to improve the performance of everything from traditional websites to modern mobile apps. The initial benefit of HTTP/2 was the ability to have multiple HTTP requests share a single connection between the browser and a web server – but it still required a dedicated request for each CSS, JavaScript, or image file on a page. With HTTP/2 Server Push the resources an application needs can be proactively pushed to a device without waiting to be requested.

“Usually, Internet performance improvements shave just milliseconds,” said Matthew Prince, co-founder & CEO of CloudFlare. “In this case, the impact of HTTP/2 Server Push will be measured in seconds per page load, a quantum leap in performance that no service provider has been able to offer yet. If with HTTP/2 Server Push we’re able to save one second off every page load served across CloudFlare‘s network at our current scale, we would save about 10,000 years of time every day that people would have otherwise spent waiting for the Internet to load.”

cloudflare-global-cdnServer Push is a fundamental update to HTTP/2 which was not previously available or supported by SPDY, the protocol that HTTP/2 is based on. This new HTTP/2 functionality allows a web server to send resources like images, CSS, JavaScript, and fonts back to the user before their browser even knows it needs them. This would eliminate an additional round-trip for every resource in a web page, resulting in “an estimated 15 percent” performance increase for a typical website.

Web Applications

“Latency is the performance bottleneck for most web applications: a single roundtrip to the server can take anywhere from tens to thousands of milliseconds, forcing the browser to wait for critical resources before it can render the page,” said Ilya Grigorik, web performance engineer at Google, co-chair of the W3C Web Performance Working group, and author of High Performance Browser Networking. “Adding support for HTTP/2 Server Push for all CloudFlare-powered sites is a big and exciting step towards enabling a faster and more optimized web.”

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, CloudFlare has offices in Austin, TX, Champaign, IL, Washington, DC, London, and Singapore.

“HTTP/2 Server Push will enable a whole new class of web applications. It represents the biggest change in delivery of web content since AJAX–for the first time it gives web servers the power to send assets to a web browser,” said John Graham-Cumming, CTO of CloudFlare. “This upends the way in which the web works eliminating the need for countless browser performance hacks.”