New Web Protocol Reaches Milestone

Mat Ford
Technology Insights, Internet Society
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January 20, 2022

The new web protocol HTTP/3 now makes up around a third of all traffic on large European networks according to a recent post from Sandvine. They monitored traffic on several large Tier-1 networks in Europe and the US and found that HTTP/3 (running over the new transport protocol QUIC) constituted around 30% of traffic in the EU and 16% in the US.

In another recent announcement, Facebook observed that they now deliver 75% of their content over HTTP/3. Given the rapid adoption of HTTP/3 and QUIC by some of the largest Internet players, and the fact that it is relatively trivial to migrate existing apps from HTTP/2 to HTTP/3, we expect to see HTTP/3 adoption continue to rise very quickly to the point where it is the dominant transport for web traffic on the Internet.

The rise of the new HTTP/3 web application transport protocol has not gone unnoticed by would-be Internet censors either. This recent post from our friends at the OONI project describes research findings that show the deployment of HTTP/3 censorship varies significantly between the observed countries (India, China, Iran and Kazakhstan) and networks. While some censors do not filter HTTP/3 traffic at all and some collaterally block HTTP/3 hosts, HTTP/3-targeting censorship was identified in Iran suggesting that it won’t be long before censoring regimes will be able to target and block HTTP/3-enabled websites as a matter of course.

W3Techs currently reports that HTTP/3 is used by 24.5% of all the websites in their web technology survey of the top ten million sites.

HTTP/3 Adoption