What is HTTP/1: The Good Old Days and Now

HTTP/1 has been the cornerstone of web communication. It's like the sturdy old car that's been around forever and still runs. However, it's important to know its quirks and features. So let's take a pit stop and understand HTTP/1 in the context of today’s web and how we at Uploadcare deal with it.

HTTP/1's Story

HTTP/1.0 was launched in 1991 and did the basics—each TCP connection was good for only one request and one response. HTTP/1.1, the upgrade in 1997, brought in features like connection reuse and pipelining, but it had its own set of hiccups.

Performance Then and Now

Back in the dial-up days, HTTP/1 was fine because the main bottleneck was just moving bits from point A to B. Now, with our beefy bandwidth, the bottleneck has shifted to establishing TCP connections and making requests. HTTP/1.1 tried to adapt by allowing up to six connections per hostname. However, this led to issues like network congestion.

Optimization Hacks

HTTP/1.1 encouraged some "MacGyver moves" for optimization, like spriting, concatenating, and domain sharding. These were workarounds to make the best of the 'six connections per hostname' limit.

Protocol and Security

HTTP/1 is text-based, making it readable but not as efficient as the binary protocols that came later. Security was optional, but HTTP/1.1 did make strides by introducing digest authentication.

HTTP/1 and Uploadcare

For file uploads, HTTP/1's single request per connection isn't ideal for speed, especially in a world that’s moving toward HTTP/2 and HTTP/3. That’s why Uploadcare operates with HTTP/1.1 only in cases where the client does not support HTTP/2.


HTTP/1 is like your first programming language. It helped you understand the fundamentals, but as you grow, you adopt new languages (or protocols) that are better suited for complex tasks. At Uploadcare, HTTP/1.1 still has a role but it’s gradually taking a backseat to more advanced protocols.

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