In my previous blog post I gave a small introduction to the main differences between the HTTP protocol versions. In this article I want to help you understand if you need HTTP/2 on your website. If you decide you do you can keep following this series of blog posts where I’ll upgrade my own website and where I try in the best of my ability to give you some neat tips on how to analyse and upgrade yours!

Is HTTP/2 worth it?

Even though using HTTP/2 is broadly advertised on the internet as the best possible option I don’t believe it fits everybody needs. Here are some things to consider if implementing HTTP/2 is worth it for you:

  • It’s not supported by older browsers. You can check here which browsers support HTTP/2. If you know your user base accesses your website mainly from these browsers, it might not be worth it. Maybe it’ll be a better use of your time to look for optimizations for HTTP/1.1, those can help a lot;

  • It’s not supported by some web servers. You should check if your current server supports HTTP/2, here is an updated list on which servers currently support it;

  • It’s not supported by some content delivery networks. You should check it either by looking at their website or checking this list;

  • Upgrading your whole ecosystem to run a HTTP/2 server might mean you’ll spend a lot of time/money. Besides upgrading your web server and your content delivery network, you might also need to buy a certificate, you can find more information about it here;

  • You can upgrade your HTTP/1.1 server to HTTPS, so access to HTTPS alone is not a good reason to upgrade to HTTP/2. HTTP/2 isn’t intrisically safe and this article goes over some reasons why;

  • Updating your web server might mean only a small improvement on loading time and sometimes it might mean a loss in performance. I’ve seen this happening in some cases while analysing webcompat.com with HTTP/2, and other people have seen the same. The only way to find out if it’s going to be worth it for your website is by running a lot of tests.

If you think all of the points above aren’t a real issue for you - or if you’re willing to deal with them, let’s dive in to how to analyze your website! In my next post I’ll show you the methods and tools I used to analyze staging.webcompat.com and hopefully this real life example will help you to improve the performance of your own website.