How to Enable HTTP/2 in Apache 2.4 on Ubuntu 20.04January 11, 2022
HTTP/2 came into our lives in 2015, giving us a reduction in page load times along with a whole bunch of new features like multiplexing, header compression, and server push just to name a few of the benefits of HTTP/2.
HTTP/2’s not only offers a new compression format but proved to be resilient against header compression attacks such as CRIME (which stands for “compression ratio info-leak made easy”), but as a binary protocol, it automatically safeguards us against attacks inherent with text-based protocols. But thee best partof it all is that all major client browsers and servers extend support to HTTP/2, and W3Techs reports that 46.9% of websites are using the protocol as of December 2021.
Benefits of Using HTTP/2
- Server push: Server will pro-actively sent components to clients, so clients doesn’t need to wait for sending requests to server.
- Multiplexing: Reducing number of active connection by bundling multiple HTTP requests from client and sent to server.
- Encryption: Efficiently use to encryption with TLS protocol in HTTP/2 over HTTP/1.1.
- HTTP header compression: Compressed headers will reduce the overhead of additional requests to web server also more mobile-friendly thanks to the header compression feature.
- SEO: Faster web performances which consequently lead to better SEO ranking.
This article will help you to enable HTTP/2.0 in Apache web server on CentOS / Red Hat/ Debian and Ubuntu systems.
Before installing you should already have install Ubuntu and PHP on your instance. Ensure that you are running Apache 2.4.17 or above because HTTP/2 is supported from this version and upwards. Check Apache version using this command on your terminal console.
In Ubuntu 20.04 you will get an output similar to the one below.
Server version: Apache/2.4.41 (Ubuntu)
Server built: 2022-01-05T14:49:56
Once you met the prerequisites next, enable the HTTP/2 module on Ubuntu by running the following command.
sudo a2enmod http2
Next, locate and edit your SSL virtual host file, if you’ve enabled HTTPS using Let’s Encrypt, a new file is created with a le-ssl.conf suffix.
sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/your-domain-name-le-ssl.conf
Insert the directive below after the
<VirtualHost *:443> tag.
Protocols h2 http/1.1
CTRL+X followed by
ENTER to save and close the file.
Restart Apache for the changes to take effect.
sudo systemctl restart apache2
Configure Apache to use HTTP/2 for PHP
By default Apache uses the mod_php module, we need to switch to PHP-FPM. This is because the mod_php module uses the prefork MPM module which is not supported by HTTP/2. So we will need to uninstall the prefork MPM and switch to the mpm_event module which will be supported by HTTP/2.
Since the PHP 7.4 mod_php and prefork MPM module is use, both will need to disable as shown:
sudo a2dismod php7.4
sudo a2dismod mpm_prefork
After disabling the modules, next, enable the Event MPM, Fast_CGI, and setenvif modules as shown.
sudo a2enmod mpm_event proxy_fcgi setenvif
Next, install and start PHP-FPM as shown.
sudo apt install php7.4-fpm
sudo systemctl start php7.4-fpm
Then enable PHP-FPM to start at boot time.
sudo systemctl enable php7.4-fpm
Finally, enable PHP-FPM as Apache’s PHP handler and restart the Apache web server for the changes to be effected.
sudo a2enconf php7.4-fpm
sudo systemctl restart apache2
Now HTTP/2 should be enabled on your server. As shown on the image below.