CloudFlare figured out how to make the Web one second faster

CloudFlare customers can tap into the protocol to shave loading times off their domains.

CloudFlare is turning on HTTP/2 Server Push support for free to customers in the hopes of shaving loading time from web page visits.

The US web performance and analytics firm announced the move on Thursday. In a blog post, CloudFlare says the new service will "make it possible for anyone to experience the fastest web performance available, accelerating future Internet speed by seconds."

HTTP/2 Server Push is an Internet protocol which allows web servers to load content without waiting for a request. Based on HTTP/2, the protocol is an update which allows web servers to send resources -- whether they are images, CSS or Javascript -- back to the user before browsers ask for them. By doing so, this eradicates an additional trip that the server and client need to make when loading content.

It is estimated that HTTP/2 Server Push can improve the loading speed performance of a typical website by up to 15 percent. It may not sound like much, but when you consider how often websites are now content and ad-rich, any improvement at all can keep eyeballs on the page for longer.

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"Usually, Internet performance improvements shave just milliseconds. In this case, the impact of HTTP/2 Server Push will be measured in seconds, a quantum leap in performance that no service provider has been able to offer yet," said Matthew Prince, co-founder & CEO of CloudFlare.

"If one year from now we're able to average one second off every page load served across CloudFlare's network, we would save about 10,000 years of time every day that people would have otherwise spent waiting for the Internet to load."

Server Push is supported by Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge has committed to supporting the feature in the future.

Apple's Safari browser support is currently in beta.

John Graham-Cumming, CTO of CloudFlare believes supporting HTTP/2 Server Push will build upon the firm's free universal SSL service to customers, almost two years ago. Encryption can increase security and improve privacy, but the executive says the project also paved the way for the next-generation Internet protocols SPDY and HTTP/2 to be implemented more widely online.

"HTTP/2 Server Push, like AJAX, will enable a whole new class of web applications," Graham-Cumming says. "It is the next essential step toward achieving today's modern web and will significantly impact its future."

You can view CloudFlare's HTTP/2 Guide here.

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