7–9 November 2016: Conference & Tutorials
9–10 November 2016: Training
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Experiences with HTTP/2 in the real world

Michael Gooding (Akamai), Javier Garza (Akamai Technologies)
16:10–16:50 Tuesday, 8/11/2016
UX performance DevOps, Networking Auditorium (Ground + Balcony) Audience level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.70, 20 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A general understanding of HTTP/2, including familiarity with header compression, multiplexing, and server push

What you'll learn

  • Explore real-world examples of how to get the best from HTTP/2 performance


HTTP/2 has been out for about a year. Over that time, Michael Gooding and Javier Garza have worked with many customers to implement it. However, beyond a turnkey solution that offers instant performance gains, HTTP/2 has led to a large amount of questions and confusion about how to optimize for it. Michael and Javier share their experiences with HTTP/2 over the last year, discussing case studies that demonstrate how performance can be improved over HTTP/2 while addressing backward compatibility, exploring using RUM data to review performance-related observations of customers after switching to HTTP/2, and offering hands-on demos of HTTP/2 with server push and HTTP/2 + QUIC.

Topics include:

  • Rendering impact without prioritization: Many solutions currently do not support server push or prioritization, which can have a negative impact on rendering when all resources instantly compete for the same bandwidth. Michael and Javier discuss solutions to mitigate this problem.
  • Breaking out to smaller files: Best practices used to dictate combining CSS and JavaScript into as few resources as possible. In an HTTP/2 world, the advice is to leave files alone and serve them as they are. Michael and Javier look at examples where trade-offs exist between the delivery, management, compression, and caching and advise how best to approach the problem.
  • Sprites: As with smaller files, what should we do with sprites in an HTTP/2 world? Looking at examples, Michael and Javier analyze the trade-offs in breaking a sprite out to smaller parts, looking at the effects of less-complex CSS against network performance to see how much of a difference it actually makes on performance.
  • Delivering for HTTP/1.x: Many websites today still have a large user base from older browsers that do not and will not support HTTP/2. By reviewing case study sites optimized for HTTP/2, Michael and Javier display the delta between a site delivered over an HTTP/2 connection and an HTTP/1.x connection. Taking these differences into account, they then explore some common trade-offs and review the delivery options to provide good performance for both protocols at the same time.
  • Real-life HTTP/2 web performance data: Michael and Javier explain how to use RUM data to review web performance data from large websites after enabling HTTP/2 and see the conditions where the performance improvements are at their best.
  • Hands-on demo comparing the web performance of HTTP/2 versus HTTP/1.x 1 and HTTP/2 with server push and QUIC.
Photo of Michael Gooding

Michael Gooding


Michael Gooding is a web performance evangelist for Akamai Technologies, where he helps customers identify performance bottlenecks and solves often complex problems. With 10 years’ experience in the IT industry, Michael started professional life as a developer but moved into consultancy when performance issues started to become the norm and not the exception. Previously, he worked for the NCC Group (formerly Site Confidence), helping customers from all industries improve the performance of their sites. Michael is constantly researching latest optimizations trends and current techniques and sits on the organizing committee of the London Web Performance Group. Michael has found himself becoming more and more impatient as he gets older, which fuels his desire for a faster web experience.

Photo of Javier Garza

Javier Garza

Akamai Technologies

Javier Garza is a multi-lingual developer evangelist who loves taking things apart, understanding how things work, and finding the best and most practical ways of improving them. Javier started hacking Basic-based computer games at the age of 9. He has been working with computers for more than 25 years in Spain, Germany, and the USA (half of those at Akamai, helping the largest websites on the Internet run faster and more securely).

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Picture of Javier Garza
Javier Garza
8/11/2016 21:43 CET

You can find the slides at https://goo.gl/v1BKaI