Part 1 of the eCommerce Evolved Blog Series

eCommerce is a quickly growing field; websites 15 years ago were simpler in content and features and less user friendly.  They were created on simple platforms using HTML and CSS to build basic web pages and delivered over the communication protocol HTTP.

Now the best eCommerce companies, including and sites built by Snow Commerce, are robust, user-friendly mobile applications and websites.  User experience (UX) is at the forefront of design as customers demand their online shopping experience to be great in order to spend money.  UX continues all the way through system design, architecture, and deployments.  

Have you noticed slower websites over the years?  All of these beautiful and user-friendly websites take more time to load because they are currently using HTTP/1.1 which was not built to fully support such rich features; these upgraded websites are still using functionality that was initially released in 1996.  How can we get an even better user experience for online shopping?

Enter HTTP/2!

Google has pooled resources with other top Web Engineers and they have redesigned the basis of the underlying architecture with the Web in mind.  

Why should you care?

Blazing speed and security, of course.  The current Web protocol (HTTP/1.1) works based on what we call "head of line".   All images, structure files, headers, CSS, and Javascript files require a "connection" to the server - a  modern system typically has over 100 connections.  In the "head of line" system, each file is requested one-by-one and must be completed and sent before the next request can be sent.

What does this mean?

In everyday life, this is the equivalent of waiting in line at your favorite restaurant and paying good money for your meal.  Now, the catch is... this is a sit down restaurant with one table.  While the table turns quickly, you still have to wait for everyone in front of you to order, eat, and pay for their meal before you can sit down to order, eat, and pay for your meal.


With an upgrade, the restaurant will now work like a fully functioning operation with multiple tables all filled to max and many parties can be served simultaneously. With HTTP/2, each person now has one large connection and each file now uses a "stream".  Files can send more rapidly, rather than waiting for the one before it to complete it’s process.   This ensures the connection is always full and moves very quickly.

What if a phone or an older computer cannot use the upgrade?

The HTTP/2 upgrade was built to be backwards compatible so if you have an older phone or computer that cannot use HTTP/2, the server will recognize the operating system and adapt to send data via HTTP/1.1.  The server knows this from the very first “TLS handshake” (data sent to the server when the initial connection is made).

How and when can my site start getting the benefit of HTTP/2?

HTTP/2 was published in May of 2015 and major browsers have since been adopting the new protocol.  In order to upgrade your website to support HTTP/2, we need to reconfigure the server(s) that run your site.  Snow Commerce has been researching and testing this reconfiguration across multiple platforms and looks forward to utilizing HTTP/2 so all our users have the best online shopping experience!

Posted By: Cameron Dixon AKA "Web Cam"