QUIC. A Real World comparison of HTTP3 vs HTTP2

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February 17, 2022 hosting Blog Posts 🕑 6 minutes read

QUIC & HTTP3 IS THE LATEST STANDARD OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB

It goes without saying that I am a speed freak when it comes to developing websites. I always aim to develop and design the fastest possible websites for my clients with an aim to get the website loading and rendered in a few hundred milliseconds if I can. I employ a number of techniques for this when building like keeping plugins to a minimum, writing and compressing minimal code and trying not to employ jQuery if at all possible.

Late last year the brilliant Matthew Woodward did a brilliant experiment on 12 of the most well known and possibly the fastest (debatable) website hosting providers across the globe, he essentially created 12 identical clones of a website and placed them on each of these hosting providers then submitted each site to a number of tests as well as testing the support on offer to the potential client. There was of course a clear winner, you can check out Matthews post HERE.

#QUIC & #HTTP3 Finally a Real World Comparison on #PhillDotBlog #Blogging #BlogPostClick To Tweet

The thing that Matthew did not mention was the hardware and software each host employed or even what version of the hosting software was used. There are plenty of different configurations that can be used with these hosting companies like the version of PHP, the most common ones now range from 5.4, 7, 7.4, 8 and now 8.1 the latter being the best with regards to speed. What hosting technology is being used NGINX, Apache or Litespeed. What operating system is being used, Windows or Linux based and the different types of servers being employed.

You may have heard about HTTP/3 are probably wondering what it is? Well here is a quick history lesson back in 1990 a certain Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. with something called HTTP/1.1 or Hypertext Transfer Protocol version 1.1 which powered all of the world’s websites and blogs (also known as weblogs at the time) for some twenty-odd years. In 2014 Google proposed a major revision of this protocol with HTTP/2 also known as SPDY. As of October 2021, 47% of the top 10 million websites are now running on HTTP/2 

About the years 2019 to 2020, support for HTTP/2 using QUIC was added to Chrome and made default in April 2021, it has since been renamed as HTTP/3 there are of course lots of blog posts on the technical side of HTTP/3 and QUIC but none showing the real benefits of adopting this new protocol.
As a freelance web developer, I love to keep right up there with new technologies and adopt them for my own clients so they can reap the benefits early on before these technologies become outdated and replaced with newer ones. I spent hours searching Google for posts explaining quite simply the benefits of adopting HTTP/3 and even better comparisons between the 2. Could I find any? The answer is a resounding NO.

My Scientific Experiment

After an unsuccessful search, I took it upon myself to do a similar experiment to that of Matthew Woodwards and I set about creating 2 identical WordPress Websites (Well I am a web developer after all) and placing them on 2 excellent hosts.  Oh, and before I go into these hosting providers I did try and build my own VPS server on Google Cloud with NGINX and HTTP/3 but after 15 or so attempts using command-line interfaces like Putty and Google Clouds inbuilt one I eventually gave up and set about finding a hosting provider that supports HTTP/3.

What I did was install the latest and greatest version of WordPress on two separate domains with the latest Twenty TwentyTwo theme, one on a hosting company called 20i based here in the UK and only supports HTTP/2 and the other on Namehero based in the United States which supports HTTP/3 I deleted all the generic posts, comments, plugins and pages that ship with new fresh installations of WordPress on both an I downloaded 10 full-size images off Pixabay (the biggest one being 6720 x 4480 pixels ) and uploaded them in the same order to (and in full-size resolution) each of the respective websites. I then left them both to fully settle in and propagate their servers for 48 hours, I also need to say that I in no way have I altered or changed any of the images.

My next job was to test that one of the domains is showing as Valid HTTP/3 and Quic and the other is not, Here are the results…

Clicking on each of the images will take you to their respective results. So now you know that WEBSITE 1 is on HTTP/2 and WEBSITE 2 is on HTTP/3. 

The next test was to check each site for its load times and speed to get a general idea of each. I used many different methods for this to paint a picture of each website and to see the differences between HTTP/2 and HTTP/3.

The GTMetrix Test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the Above images that both performed pretty well but there is an obvious stand out Winner in this test… Next up comes the test I have just recently run a few days after the above test. Here is…

The Pingdom Test

HTTP2QUIC & HTTP3

Two point four two seconds to One hundred and eighty four milliseconds. Well, again we see that HTTP3 is the clear winner yet again. Finally, I went and ran a

Lighthouse report on both sites

Lighthouse report on HTTP2QUIC or HTTP3 Lighthouse report

My Need for Speed.

I have always been quite obsessed with website speed since the early day’s as a web developer when I started building sites in Flash and ActionScript 3.

Not only that but I am also obsessive when it comes to security. For my clients these obsessions are a good thing as we all know no-one likes a slow loading website.

I suppose you now are convinced of the power of HTTP3 and would like to know how to set it up for yourself and your own blog?

Setting Up QUIC & HTTP3 for yourself.

Naturally, the first step is to sign up for Namehero Hosting. These guys offer some really competitive pricing options and a lot of really cool features including http3 with a free QUIC.Cloud account and Litespeed option. Check out the features and pricing below…

Of course, if you have an established blog on a host and you want to go and change it can be quite stressful migrating your WordPress site from one host to another. Well, there is nothing to worry about as Namehero has you covered by providing complimentary website migrations by their Level three team which will take the stress out of moving.

Once you are all done and the site move has been successful you can check this it is on HTTP3 and QUIC by going to THIS WEBSITE and checking there. You should be greeted with a green tick saying the HTTP/3 and QUIC are both supported along with some stats about the server you are on.

Let’s set this up.

Now that you have your blog on Namehero it’s time to set this up for speed, As some added freebies you are also hooked up with a free Litespeed licence automatically applied and also a free QUIC.cloud account. There are lots of things you can do and you will eventually end up with a dashboard like this with some impressive starts…

Now I was going to continue with this blog post with lots of screenshots and the like but instead of regurgitating what has already been published online, I have decided to link to Ryan Grey’s article on how to set this up. You can find this HERE. On top of that here is a video on how to set this up…

 

So what do you think then pilgrim? I would love to know your thoughts on this new version of the world wide web. Are you already on QIC and HTTP3? What has been your experience of it? Have you been in touch with your current host about implementing this yet? What was their response? Love to know your thoughts below.

QUIC. A Real World comparison of HTTP3 vs HTTP2

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  1. Ryan Gray says:
    at 2:31 pm

    Phil,

    Thank you for including us in this blog post!

    Quic.Cloud has done a fantastic job with their CDN and given that it’s developed by the crew at LiteSpeed, it’s the perfect addition to their WordPress caching plugin. Additionally, LiteSpeed has stayed ahead of the curve offering true HTTP/3 support (i.e. while Cloudflare allows you to enable HTTP/3 if it’s not active on your local web server, your connections are not fully HTTP/3) very early on. We’re very proud with our partnership with them!

    We’ve spent a lot of time ensuring all of our cloud-based Web Hosting nodes are coupled with the best hardware to bring everything together into a fantastic performance experience for our customers at an affordable rate.

    We look forward to continuing our on-going optimization of our platform to ensure our customer’s always have the “best of the best” for reasonable prices!

    Thanks again!

    – Ryan, Founder/CEO NameHero.com

    • @Phill says:
      at 11:18 am

      Hello Ryan,

      Many thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and leave a comment. I am really surprised that there are not many more hosting companies out there offering this service yet. My main one for my client’s websites is 20i here in the UK and there not going to implement it any time soon. I messaged a couple of others and one (siteground) had no idea what HTTP3 actually was.
      Keep up the great work Ryan and thanks for swinging by fella.
      All the best.

      Phillip

  2. Lisa Sicard says:
    at 5:25 pm

    Hi Phillip,
    Thanks for this blog post, I have to check what I have. I know I do have CDN as I make a monthly payment for it. I never understood what https3 really meant so thank you for this explanation.
    Lisa Sicard recently posted…7 Top Tips For Improving Your SEO Results in 2022 and BeyondMy Profile

    • Phillip Dews says:
      at 6:27 pm

      Hello Lisa,

      Really, you pay a monthly fee for it? That’s madness. Well, you get a free QUIC.cloud account (an excellent CDN) and a Free LiteSpeed Licence with Namehero. It looks like you are on SiteGround which is the one hosting company I will never use. what are you using for the CDN? Also, does yours do image optimisation for free? It’s all built-in with the QUIC Cloud CDN.
      Thanks for being here again.

      P

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