Tuesday, March 15, 2016

H2O HTTP/2 server goes 2.0 adding support for Brotli

Today, I am happy to announce the release of H2O version 2.0.0-beta1, the first release of the 2.0 series. In the release, we have added support for Brotli in two ways.

For those who do not know, Brotli is a new compression method developed by Google. It is said to compress files ~20% smaller than gzip - means less bandwidth consumed and faster rendering on the client side. Mozilla has already added support for Brotli in Firefox 44, and Chrome is gradually turning the knob on as well.

Starting with H2O version 2.0.0-beta1, when the file.send-compressed directive is set to ON, the server sends a file with .br or .gz suffix instead of file being requested should such file exist. For example, if index.html is requested with a Accept-Encoding: br request header, and if a file named index.html.br exists, the server sends the contents of index.hmtl.br as the response with the Content-Encoding: br response header being set. In case the client is capable of decompressing both algorithms both algorithms and if both of .br and .gz files exist, the .br file is selected as the response.
# send pre-compressed files (.br or .gz)
file.send-compressed: ON

The other directive: compress controls on-the-fly compression. When turned on, it compresses the response as it is being sent to the client, using either brotli or gzip depending on the configuration and browser support. This can be used for compressing output from PHP and other dynamically-generated content.
# perform on-the-fly compression (brotli or gzip)
compress: [ brotli, gzip ]
Server administrators may also be interested in fine-tuning the compression quality of the compression methods. The following configuration sets the compression quality of brotli to 4 and gzip to 6, a suggested setting by Understanding Brotli's Potential - The Akamai Blog. The compression speed becomes about half of the default (1 for both gzip and brotli), but the size of the content after compression is expected to become ~15% smaller for both methods.
# perform more effective (but CPU-intensive) compression
compress:
  brotli: 4
  gzip:   6

In my upcoming blogposts I will cover other changes in the 2.0 release of H2O. Stay tuned!

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