QUIC – The next generation of internet protocol

QUIC is the base for the next generation of internet protocol, HTTP/3. It makes loading websites considerably faster for people who have poor connectivity. Website speed has been a ranking signal since 2010 and increasing load speeds helps not only with rankings but bounce rates.

You want your website users to spend more time on site, not leave due to the frustration of waiting. Technology has advanced immensely over the years from faster hardware, faster services and improved protocols.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) has seen vast improvements to the efficiency of loading data since 1991. The first version of the protocol had only one method, GET, which would request a web page from a server. HTTP was inefficient in how it requested and loaded data in the browser, but this protocol stayed around for a long time until recently, 2015, when HTTP/2 was standardized.

Weirdly, for such an old protocol, it’s still widely used today. Statistics show that from the top 10 million sites on the web, just over one third are utilising the newer HTTP/2 protocol.

HTTP/2 makes websites significantly faster. It does this through the form of multiplexing support. Rather than sending a request to the server, waiting for it to return, and then sending the next request, HTTP/2 allows the sending of multiple requests at the same time.

What is an HTTP request?

When you attempt to visit a webpage, the browser pings the web server and requests it sends the files needed to display the page. These files include any text, images or other elements that may be present. This is what’s known as an HTTP request.

The average number of requests for a website is 90. It may seem like a lot, but it’s normal due to the way websites are coded. Websites like eBay have 289 requests for its homepage alone. You can find useful stats including requests for your own website at GTmetrix.

So clearly HTTP/2 enabled servers, makes loading pages much quicker than those still utilising the older protocol HTTP/1.1.

Whilst HTTP/2 solved the issues of loading vast amounts of requests in an efficient way, it does have a drawback. All requests are sent over a single TCP connection.

The QUIC solution.

QUIC solves this problem. It does so by sending requests using separate independent connections. This way, if one request stalls, it doesn’t impact other data being transmitted.

SiteGround is among one of the first hosting companies to offer this technology, as standard, to all their customers. They’re always on the forefront when it comes to new technologies and if you’re serious about improving site speed and conversions, they’re a hosting company worth checking out.

Currently, only Chrome and Opera which support QUIC. Assuming your visitors are using one of these browsers, and you have an SSL certificate (Your website starts with HTTPS:// and not HTTP://) then you can take advantage of this speed technology today.