CloudFlare Rolls Out HTTP/2 Support to Improve Performance for All Customers

CloudFlare, a global CDN (Content Delivery Network) and DNS Provider, has announced HTTP/2 support for all customers. Now any CloudFlare customer can speed up their web properties with the latest version of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), for free.

“The last update to HTTP was in 1999 and the Internet has changed a lot since then. HTTP/2 was built to improve the performance of everything from traditional websites to modern mobile apps,” said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of CloudFlare. “To give you a sense, if every request over the CloudFlare CDN network came over HTTP/2, in one month we’d collectively save Internet users 95 thousand years they’d otherwise spend waiting for the Internet to load over HTTP/1.1.”

CloudFlare customers do not need to change their existing server configuration to experience of the performance benefits of HTTP/2. HTTP/2 support is enabled by default for all customers on the CloudFlare‘s Free and Pro tiers. Business and enterprise customers can enable HTTP/2 from their control panel with a single click.

Websites, Mobile Apps

cloudflare-global-cdnHTTP/2 is the new and improved version of HTTP, the primary protocol over which data is exchanged online. HTTP/2 is based on the draft SPDY protocol, which CloudFlare has supported since June 2012. SPDY was created by Google to address many of the performance problems with the fifteen-year-old HTTP/1.1. HTTP/2 expanded on Google’s work with SPDY and was codified as an official Internet protocol by the Internet Engineering Task Force in May 2015.

Websites and mobile apps are more complicated today than they were when HTTP/1.1 was created in 1999. HTTP/2 means that resources like images, CSS, JavaScript, and fonts can be multiplexed into a single request, “increasing performance by an average of 30 percent per page view.”

To use an analogy, HTTP/1.1 is like making a full trip to and from the store each time you need to buy an item. HTTP/2 is like multiple-item shopping: buying everything you need in a single trip. HTTP/2 allows several requests to be sent and received over a single TCP connection, resulting in “significant performance gains and a better online experience” for site visitors.

SPDY and HTTP/1.1 Support

Support for HTTP/2 is being rolled out across all modern browsers. Approximately 30 percent of browsers seen across CloudFlare’s CDN network support HTTP/2, 50 percent support SPDY but not HTTP/2, and 20 percent support only HTTP/1.1.

CloudFlare will continue to support SPDY and HTTP/1.1, falling back to whatever the fastest protocol a browser will support to ensure that even users without the latest software will continue to get the fastest possible experience.

“Today, CloudFlare continued our mission of helping build a better Internet by more than doubling the number of sites available over HTTP/2,” added Mr. Prince. “Beyond adding functionality for our customers, we think of rolling out HTTP/2 as CloudFlare‘s free holiday gift to every Internet user: the gift of time.”