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Freddy Robinson
April 26th, 2018
Written by Freddy Robinson
Technology advances

Over the last couple of years, Brilliant has been advancing all new website developments and website updates to PHP7. Now with our new website hosting platform, Brilliant are also providing better user experience through the use of HTTP/2.

What is PHP?
PHP is general-purpose scripting language for web development. PHP runs on the host web server, rather than in the web browser and provides for dynamic web page content and functionality.

What's new in PHP 7?

Performance improvements
PHP 7 boasts a massive improvement in performance. PHP 7 runs twice and quickly as the former PHP 5.6, meaning faster response time for the end user and less strain on the server.

Development advances
PHP 7 introduces new features and syntax to the language, along with more detailed warnings and errors; it is now easier than ever to develop new functionality. With the use of these new features, development is more efficient.

Security Benefits
Many insecure functionalities have been deprecated in PHP 7, ensuring that your website will be handling data is a secure way. It has introduced stronger cryptographic algorithms and functions to securely manage user credentials. It has also solved many issues that opened possibilities for an attacker to exploit a system.

What is HTTP/2?
HTTP/2 is a major revision of the HTTP network protocol standard used by the World Wide Web. This update effort, driven by Google, was supported by all major browsers by the end of 2015 and as of March 2018, 25.4% of the top 10 million websites are supported by HTTP/2, together with an essential SSL certificate.

Multiplexing for speed
One of the biggest limitations of HTTP/1.1 is that it can only transfer one request per TCP connection at a time. With HTTP/2, this limitation is lifted. It is capable of handling multiple requests on a single TCP connection. This results in faster and more efficient transfer of data.

Prioritisation improving user experience
Requests are assigned dependency levels. The server can use these to deliver high priority resources faster, allowing the page to be user-ready quicker than with HTTP/1.1.

Binary efficiency
HTTP/2 is binary rather than textual. Binary protocols are more efficient to parse and less error-prone when compared to textual protocols like HTTP/1.1.

Header compression
In HTTP/1.1, headers are not compressed. This leads to an increased latency and unnecessary consumption of bandwidth. HTTP/2 uses HPACK compression to reduce the overhead of requests.

Server Push advantage
When a browser requests a page, the server sends the HTML in the response. It then must wait for the browser to parse the HTML and make requests for all the embedded assets before it can start sending the JavaScript, CSS and media. Server Push potentially allows the server to avoid this wait by "pushing" the responses it thinks the client will need.

Improved support
Most modern browsers now support this protocol, but only over an encrypted connection, although not required by the protocol itself, it is essential to have an SSL certificate to support the use of HTTP/2 in all browsers.

Speed benefits
Both HTTP/2 and PHP 7 boast massive performance benefits. Using both can significantly improve the speed of your pages and reduce the strain on your server. Google takes site speed into account when ranking pages, by upgrading to PHP 7 and HTTP/2, you may increase your ranking on Google's result pages; making it easier for users to find your content. On top of this, a faster site will allow Google to crawl more of your pages in the crawl rate limit.

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