Cloudinary Blog

Cloudinary now delivers images and videos over HTTP/2

Ran Rubinstein
By Ran Rubinstein
Cloudinary now delivers images and videos over HTTP/2

Even though websites have changed dramatically over the years – from simple text-based pages to advanced in-browser apps full of images and videos – the underlying HTTP protocol really hasn’t changed - until recently, with the approval of the HTTP/2 protocol by the IETF. Today Cloudinary is proud to announce, as part of a CDN infrastructure upgrade, general availability of HTTP/2 support in our image and video management solution. This will help you optimize the user experience on your app or website even more.

The benefits of delivering your site images and videos over HTTP/2 are: improving website performance; reducing the amount of bandwidth required by supporting header compression; improving latency and making it easier for developers to use optimized connections, by eliminating the need for domain sharding and other subtle performance tricks.

As more and more sites begin to adopt the technology, HTTP/2 is generating a lot of buzz in the industry. Most browsers already support HTTP/2 (though some only do so through over HTTPS) and it is designed to be backwards compatible with older versions.

Webinar
How to Optimize for Page Load Speed

While the adoption of HTTP/2 was slow initially, since January 2016 more sites have announced plans to move to HTTP/2 or are offering true support of the protocol. For example, at the beginning of May 2016 both Wikipedia and Blogspot announced that their sites were now supporting HTTP/2.

HTTP/2 adoption over time
Source: http://isthewebhttp2yet.com/measurements/adoption.html

The highest gains in performance for those moving to HTTP/2 will be those with image heavy pages. And the more images on a single page, the more improvement that will be seen. The reason: With HTTP/2, instead of requesting images sequentially or creating many parallel connections, the browser makes a single connection to the server and optimizes the requests to all images over a single connection. A great (although extreme) example of the performance differences between HTTP/2 and its predecessor HTTP/1.1 can be found in this demo on the Akamai website.

HTTP2 vs HTTP1
Source: https://kinsta.com/learn/what-is-http2/

We began beta testing HTTP/2 about six months ago, and the results are impressive. Based on our measurements, the average improvement in page load time is close to 10%.

Ok, I want it - how do I get it?

For current Cloudinary users, there’s nothing you need to do to benefit from our HTTP/2 enhancements. As of today, we've upgraded our CDN integrations, so that every url delivered from Cloudinary's standard CDN layer (using hostnames res.cloudinary.com or cloudname-res.cloudinary.com), in the HTTPS protocol, offers HTTP/2 as a default connection method to the browser that calls it.

Even if your website's HTML itself is not delivered via HTTP/2, you will still gain a performance boost, as all the images on your site that are delivered via Cloudinary will be now pipelined through a single optimized connection.

To check whether your images are delivered via HTTP/2 install this Chrome extension, which indicates the newest protocols.

If you have a specialized or private CDN setup, contact your account manager or support@cloudinary.com to discuss your options.

Obsolete optimizations

There are two optimizations that Cloudinary supports that HTTP/2 makes obsolete: domain sharding and sprites.

If your site is delivered via HTTPS and you are using one of our client libraries, consider turning off CDN subdomains in your Cloudinary configuration (stop setting secure_cdn_subdomain to true).

If you use sprites for performance reasons, you may see a benefit in using separate images, as multiple images will re-use the connection to load faster (but not as fast) as a sprite, but caching can improve as replacing a single image doesn't require generating a new sprite.

To sum it up

Content delivery is an important part of Cloudinary's end-to-end image and video management solution. We constantly upgrade and monitor the CDN-based delivery of assets, and HTTP/2 is the latest feature we've added. Keep watching this blog for further announcements regarding the CDN layer in the future.

Recent Blog Posts

Automatically Translating Videos for an International Audience

No matter your business focus—public service, B2B integration, recruitment—multimedia, in particular video, is remarkably effective in communicating with the audience. Before, making video accessible to diverse viewers involved tasks galore, such as eliciting the service of production studios to manually dub, transcribe, and add subtitles. Those operations were costly and slow, especially for globally destined content.

Read more
Cloudinary Helps Minted Manage Its Image-Generation Pipeline at Scale

David first shared his thoughts at our ImageCon coverence last October and this case study is an abbreviated version of Minted’s success using Cloudinary.

Over time, Faithful renderings of the creations of the illustrators, textile designers, painters, packaging designers, marketers, and stay-at-home moms, all of whom are core contributors of the Minted world, was getting harder and harder. Legacy technology wasn’t cutting it any more—and it was time for Cloudinary to step in.

Read more
Highlights on ImageCon 2021 and a Preview of ImageCon 2022

New year, same trend! Visual media will continue to play a monumental role in driving online conversions. To keep up with visual-experience trends and best practices, Cloudinary holds an annual conference called ImageCon, a one-of-a-kind event that helps attendees create the most engaging visual experiences possible.

Read more

New for DAM: Media Library Extension for Chrome

By Sharon Yelenik
A New Media Library Chrome Extension for Cloudinary DAM

With the introduction of the Media Library Extension, a Chrome-browser add-on that streamlines the access to, search for, and management of images and videos, Cloudinary offers yet another effective tool for its Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution. Let’s have a look at how most teams are currently working with media assets and how the new add-on not only boosts efficiency, but also renders the process a pleasure to work with.

Read more
New Features Supercharge Cloudinary’s Digital Asset Management Solution.

Today, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of Apps for Digital Asset Management and a Media Library Extension for the Chrome browser, which enables easy, flexible integration with all web-based applications in addition to making asset discovery more robust and accessible to all.

Read more
Scale and Automate Workflows With Modern Digital Asset Management Systems

With building, growing, and maintaining a strong digital presence being a top priority for all brands, high-quality visual content is paramount. In fact, consumers are 40 times more likely to share visual content on social networks than on other forums. Plus, a recent study from Wyzowl found that 84% of consumers made purchase decisions after watching a video, which explains why many brands are adding more and more visual media to their sites.

Read more