Difference between HTTP 1, HTTP 1.1 and HTTP 2

This page compares HTTP 1 vs HTTP/1.1 vs HTTP/2 and mentions difference between HTTP 1, HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2.

Introduction: HTTP is the short form of Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is foundation for World Wide Web. It is used by browsers in order to load the web pages.

HTTP connection

Example: Client browser sends HTTP request to web server once we enter URL such as "http://www.google.com". Web browser sends HTTP response to the client with the contents of the webpage.

HTTP 1 Protocol

• HTTP methods are Get, Put or Post.
• Request target such as URL or port is used.
• It uses text based commands for HTTP requests.
• It had official recognition in 1996.
• The new response headers allowed multiple file types e.g. plain text, HTML, images etc.

HTTP 1.1 Protocol

• It was released in 1997.
• It uses text based commands for HTTP requests.
• It added many performance enhancements e.g. caching, request pipelining, keepalive connections, transfer encoding, byte range requests etc.
• It can load one requests at a time. Hence one request per one TCP connection is possible.

HTTP 2 Protocol

• It was released in Feb. 2015 by IETF.
• It is binary and not textual.
• It is fully multiplexed.
• It interleaves multiple requests/responses in parallel without blocking on anyone.
• It uses single TCP connection to deliver multiple requests/responses (in parallel).
• It uses header compression in order to reduce overhead.
• It allows servers to "push" responses into client caches proactively.
• It removes unnecessary HTTP/1.x work-arounds e.g. Image sprites, domain sharing etc. • It is less error prone than HTTP/1.

HTTP/3 was released in late 2019. It is based on QUIC protocol.

Also refer HTTP vs HTTPS >> for difference between HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

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