Unfortunately, as you are aware not, every town or village benefits from superfast fibre broadband. However, a lot still suffer from extremely outdated telecom infrastructures that equate to slow internet speeds. It is painful to see how slowly our websites load there. Considering how much effort we put into optimising our website technology — both on the server and application level. But now, HITS has QUIC on our servers, and these slow speeds are a thing of the past.
What Is QUIC?
QUIC considerably increases site loading speed when you have poor connectivity. In addition, it’s the base for the next generation of Internet protocol coming: HTTP/3. And, as usual, we are among the first website design agencies to provide this high-speed technology to all our clients and their customers.
Internet Protocol Evolution
HTTP => HTTP/2 => QUIC => HTTP/3
HTTP is the protocol that is the foundation of the internet. Its initial version (HTTP 1.0) is still used today. All websites that do not use SSL are loaded using this protocol (or HTTP 1.1). However, it is quite old, and that is why in 2015, we configured all of our web servers to provide HTTP/2. HTTP/2 solves many problems and makes websites much faster. Since doing this, we’ve received lots of positive feedback from our clients about the performance of their sites. The adoption of HTTP/2 is on the rise. The W3Techs statistics portal says that out of the top 10 million sites, 34.1% use HTTP/2. We are glad that all of the SSL-enabled sites on our web servers already use HTTP/2.
It is now time to take things to the next level. The next level, in this case, is called QUIC and eventually HTTP/3. When HTTP/2 was announced, the performance improvements did not stop. At the time, many performance engineers started talking about QUIC and HTTP/3. In August 2017, Google officially released a white paper about QUIC. This new protocol offers better performance and security and will become the next standardised version of HTTP called HTTP/3.
What Makes QUIC Better?
The main advantage of QUIC is that it offers better performance for users connected to slow networks. It also benefits those with packet loss and high latency because it handles requests differently than previous HTTP protocols.
Original HTTP had a problem called Head of Line Blocking (HOLB). In plain words, this means that all requests needed to load a webpage are handled one after another in separate TCP connections. Thus, if one of the requests is slow, all the others who come after it on the line will also be slow as they wait.
HTTP/2 addressed this issue by introducing multiplexing support. It allows sending multiple requests simultaneously so that they do not wait for each other to be fulfilled. This works well when there are no problems with the connection and results in faster loading. However, all requests are sent over a single TCP connection, and if it fails when the connectivity is not functional, the whole site loading is negatively impacted.
QUIC solves this problem by sending different requests even more efficiently using separate but independent connections for each request. This way, if one request fails, it does not affect the rest of the requests that need to be addressed. As TCP does not allow independent handling of multiple connections, QUIC had to change its underlying protocol with UDP, which did the trick quite nicely.
Already A HITS Client?
We always strive to offer the newest technologies, and this is no exception. We have already deployed QUIC on all of our client websites. To currently get the benefits of QUIC, you will need to be using the latest versions of Google Chrome or Opera as your browser. If you use older or other browsers, then the site will use its fallback of HTTP/2. However, we hope for these to be updated in due course for everyone to get these fantastic speed benefits.
Not A HITS Client?
If you feel that QUIC would benefit your website, why not contact the HITS team to discuss our fast website hosting and design service.