Next-Generation HTTP/3 Protocol Arrives as a Standard


New web protocol will lead to faster and less troubled connections.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has officially released the third major revision of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) as a standard. RFC 9114 documents the new HTTP, which proponents say will lead to better “ multiplexing, per-stream flow control, and low-latency connection establishment.”

The biggest change with the v3 web is the QUIC protocol, which was originally developed by Google but has since been extended and adopted by Microsoft, Apple, and other vendors. Unlike previous versions of the HTTP, which relied on the slow but careful TCP protocol for establishing and verifying connections, the new version uses the faster and and more agile QUIC as a transport protocol. QUIC, which stands for “Quick UDP Internet Connections,” is based on the connectionless UDP transport.

Some questions remain about the pace of adoption for HTTP/3. Until now, development has been led by major Internet companies such as Google and Microsoft. The Apache project has so far resisted adding support for HTTP/3 to the Apache web server, but adoption of the standard could change that calculation. According to the IETF, the standard is compatible with the previous HTTP/2, which should ease the transition.


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