Thursday, September 17, 2020
Starting November 2020, Googlebot will start crawling some sites over HTTP/2.
Ever since mainstream browsers started supporting the next major revision of HTTP, HTTP/2 or h2 for short, web professionals asked us whether Googlebot can crawl over the upgraded, more modern version of the protocol.
Today we're announcing that starting mid November 2020, Googlebot will support crawling over HTTP/2 for select sites.
What is HTTP/2
As we said, it's the next major version of HTTP, the protocol the internet primarily uses for transferring data. HTTP/2 is much more robust, efficient, and faster than its predecessor, due to its architecture and the features it implements for clients (for example, your browser) and servers. If you want to read more about it, we have a long article on the HTTP/2 topic.
Why we're making this change
In general, we expect this change to make crawling more efficient in terms of server resource usage. With h2, Googlebot is able to open a single TCP connection to the server and efficiently transfer multiple files over it in parallel, instead of requiring multiple connections. The fewer connections open, the fewer resources the server and Googlebot have to spend on crawling.
How it works
In the first phase, we'll crawl a small number of sites over h2, and we'll ramp up gradually to more sites that may benefit from the initially supported features, like request multiplexing.
Googlebot decides which site to crawl over h2 based on whether the site supports h2