Maybe you have heard about HTTP/3 and its QUIC protocol that builds on it, and wondering what does it mean and how HTTP/3 and QUIC can affect the current shape of the web?
HTTP/3 standard is the new generation of The Hypertext Transfer Protocol and comes after 5 years of HTTP/2, According to what Google says, it will improve performance between 8% and 15%.
What is QUIC?
QUIC is an acronym for Quick UPD Internet Connections protocol, and it’s much more important than HTTP/3, as it breaks away from the Internet foundation by reinventing the TPC/IP layered architecture model, assuming all TCP transport layer functions, and TLS security layer functions.
This is a radical change because ever since the Internet was invented in the 70s-80s, the only transport protocols have always been TCP and UDP.
How does QUIC work?
QUIC has three main functions that related to security and transport, the first on is a Security layer, it guarantees that no one modifies or sees the data, neither the identity of the company providing the service.
The second one is TCP transport layer, it detects and corrects errors and congests control.
And the third is Transport functions included in HTTP/2: HTTP/2 came with multiplexing functions and flow prioritization, which are transport functions. With QUIC taking on these tasks, they’re removed from the HTTP/2, giving way to HTTP/3.
Current use of HTTP/3
HTTP/3 isn’t widly available, only some google services support it like YouTube, Gmail and the search engine.
With regard to hosting services: in that sense, the first ones to offer HTTP/3 are Cloud Flare’s CDN (in beta) and SiteGround hosting.
On the other side afew Internet browsers currently support it, Chromium, Firefox, Opera and Chrome.
How to Test if a Website supports HTTP/3 & QUIC?
To check whether a website is using HTTP/3 you have some options:
Geekflare HTTP/3 test quickly connects your site using cURL and reveals if it supports H3/QUIC protocol. If the connection is successful then it shows the advertised supported versions.
A web tool by LightSpeed.
Access HTTP/3 Check and enter the URL to be tested. You will get the results instantly.
Firefox Nightly has recently announced the H3 support.
- Launch Firefox Nightly
about:configin the address bar and press enter
- Accept the risk and continue
- Search for
network.http.http3.enabledand click on the toggle button to enable it.
- Restart the Firefox nightly and open developer tools
- Access the site and look at the “Protocol” column.
You can use Chrome Canary to test.
Launch Chrome Canary with
"--enable-quic --quic-version=h3-23" flag and run the test. You will not see H3 or HTTP/3 as a protocol in developer tools but “http2+quic/99”.
No doubt HTTP/3 and QUIC are going to change the whole web experience as they will reduce the time we have to wait for websites to load. But we need to wait until its implementation issues are solved, and until more browsers get the fixed version.