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We’ll Upgrade You to HTTP/2 – Here’s How

Imperva Incapsula is pleased to announce that we’ve begun our rollout of HTTP/2 support.

As mentioned in our previous post, HTTP/2 offers performance and security benefits both for you and your website visitors. Among other features, HTTP/2 supports browser multiplexing; here, multiple requests can be passed through a single server connection. As a result, servers should experience a reduced load—especially during periods of heavy network traffic. Current versions of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari all support HTTP/2.

Incapsula enabled HTTP/2 support on our own website in late October. So far, we’ve seen a measurable improvement in both page upload and rendering times for visitors.

On November 16th, and over the course of a few weeks, we’ll start an activation process that will enable customers to turn on HTTP/2 support if their sites support SSL. At some point during this period, a pop-up will appear when you log into your account. It’ll offer you the option to enable HTTP/2 for your Incapsula service.

If you choose not to enable HTTP/2 at that time via the pop-up, you can do so later by choosing your site, selecting SettingsGeneral, and then checking Enable HTTP/2.

To understand your traffic distribution, you can now view a pie chart that shows traffic breakdown by HTTP versions.

Traffic breakdown by HTTP versions

We’ve also added a new indicator on the Events page that reports the HTTP version as part of our event view.

You may be wondering about the effect of activating Incapsula HTTP/2 support when you may not yet have an HTTP/2-enabled website. With that in mind, we’ve put together a short Q&A to help you make an informed decision.

Are there benefits to enabling HTTP/2 on my Incapsula service if I don’t have an HTTP/2 server?

Yes, your users will see improved performance and get better security on the first hop to Incapsula.

How does Incapsula HTTP/2 support function?

Incapsula acts as a reverse proxy between the end-user browser and the website origin server. It serves HTTP/2 to browsers that support it without changing anything between our proxy and the origin server. Your users get the benefits of HTTP/2 without any changes being made to your servers.

Do I need to support HTTP/2 on my origin server before activating it on my Incapsula service?

No, Incapsula HTTP/2 support is not required on your webserver. You do, however, need to enable SSL. This is because browsers supporting HTTP/2 all enforce encrypted connections.

What happens if I try to enable HTTP/2 on a site that isn’t SSL-enabled?

You cannot activate HTTP/2 support unless SSL has been configured on your website. While SSL is an optional HTTP/2 component, all supporting browsers enforce an SSL connection.

What is the effect of HTTP/2 on caching if I have the Incapsula CDN enabled?

HTTP/2 does not affect caching. We recommend enabling caching to leverage HTTP/2 between our CDN and your customer endpoints.

Are there reasons I may want to postpone engaging HTTP/2 on my Incapsula service?

HTTP/2 is known to be more efficient for websites having multiple resources. However, for sites containing multiple large resources, you may benefit from the multiple connections afforded by HTTP 1.1. HTTP waterfall tools, such as WebPagetest, can be used to analyze the benefits of using HTTP/2.

Incapsula looks forward to bringing you the benefits of HTTP/2 and we encourage you to activate it when you have the opportunity. Stay tuned for additional updates as we analyze HTTP/2 traffic and share our findings.