The last HTTP protocol update was in 1997, and until now, there have not been any updates. For the past almost 2 decades, HTTP has basically done the heaving lifting of bringing webpages to the end user’s browser; for instance, when you go to any website, you create an HTTP request to a webserver, asking it to deliver all elements of a website.
Today’s modern websites are becoming more resource intensive and are outgrowing this method of content transfer. Each element counts as a separate HTTP request which with today’s resource intensive websites can make load rate very slow and a poor experience for the end user.
SPDY and HTTP/2
HTTP/2 emerged from Google’s SPDY, their open networking protocol developed primarily for transporting web content. SPDY manipulates HTTP traffic, with particular goals of reducing web page load latency and improving web security.
HTTP/2 is the first major HTTP protocol update since 1997 when HTTP/1.1 was first published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The new HTTP protocol is needed to keep up with the exponential growth of the web. It brings significant improvement in efficiency, speed and security and is supported by most modern web browsers. A list of browsers that support HTTP/2 can be found here.
Most browsers only support HTTP/2 for HTTPS, which means you must migrate to HTTPS if you want to take advantage of the performance benefits.