For most web developers, a large part of your job will be building pages that interact with and respond to APIs that are located on a remote server. The more you know about the HTTP protocol, the better you will be able to utilize these API interfaces.
You will find out what HTTP headers are and why they are crucial in this blog post.
What are HTTP headers?
HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is a protocol for transferring hypertext on the Internet. The first version of the protocol is from 1991 and 2015. the new and better version of HTTP / 2 is released.
The HTTP protocol was invented with the creation of the World Wide Web. This protocol sets out the rules under which information is exchanged between a web server and a web client (most commonly a web browser). When Tim Berners-Lee realized his idea of a network of interconnected information, now called the web, he created its basic components. The first web server was created, which provided the first web page to the first web browser. The communication between a web browser and a web server is performed according to the protocol created for this purpose – HTTP.
The “communication” between the browser (client) and the server (on the website) takes place via HTTP.
HTTP headers allow the client and server to transmit information via an HTTP request or HTTP response. They consist of the name of the HTTP header (case-insensitive), followed by a colon (:) and the value of the header (Value).
The most common HTTP methods are GET and POST. There are also: HEAD, PUT, DELETE, TRACE, OPTIONS, and CONNECT.
Types HTTP headers
HTTP Request Header
Whenever you type a URL into the address bar and try to access it, your browser sends an HTTP request to the server. The HTTP request header contains information in a text-record form, which includes particulars such as the:
- Type, capabilities, and version of the browser that generates the request.
- Operating system used by the client.
- Page that was requested.
- Various types of outputs are accepted by the browser.
HTTP Response Header
Upon receiving the request header, the Web server will send an HTTP response header back to the client. An HTTP response header includes information in a text-record form that a Web server transmits back to the client’s browser. The response header contains particulars such as the type, date, and size of the file sent back by the server and information regarding the server.
HTTP General Header
HTTP General Header can be used in both request and response messages in server-client communication. Despite the existence of this term, HTTP headers are defined as response or request headers, depending on the context.
These headers contain directives that need to be followed, for both the requester and receiver. It can include information regarding:
- Caching directives.
- Specified connection options.
- The date (always listed in Greenwich Mean Time)
Why HTTP headers are crucial for SEO?
Setting up HTTP headers is crucial for optimizing the loading speed of site pages. As we know, Google appreciates the good UX, part of which is Page Speed - one of the ranking factors for Google. These are the basic things about SEO. For your site to be successful, customers need to enjoy their stay. Page speed is one of the most crucial things that impress consumers. You should always pay attention to the page speed to keep your customers happy.
In addition, when bots crawl the site pages, their behavior is identical to that of a browser (client) – they submit a request to the server and receive a response. Therefore, the first information the bot receives for a specific address is the HTTP response of the server. That’s why HTTP headers are crucial.
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