🧠 Fun fact: HTTP was introduced in 1991.
What is HTTP?
HTTP is an application layer protocol for fetching resources such as HTML documents.
In simple terms, HTTP is used to transfer data over the web.
What is HTTP/2?
In contrast to HTTP, HTTP/2 allows you to request multiple files at the same time, increasing site performance and efficiency.
🧠 Did you know that HTTP/2 is used by over 45% of all websites?
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Best HTTP Books
HTTP: The Definitive Guide is consistently named as one of the best HTTP books on the market.
↘️ Ideal for: IT professionals, beginner developers
↘️ Topics covered: features, syntax, guidelines
While published in 2002, HTTP: The Definitive Guide remains the most recommended HTTP book on the market. That’s because it clearly explains what HTTP is and explores its:
You’ll find hundreds of detailed illustrations and examples highlighting everything you need to use HTTP efficiently. You’ll also look at related technologies like:
➡️ HTTP: The Definitive Guide covers both basic and advanced features. It’s a handbook for every web developer.
🔥 Geena’s Hot Take
HTTP: The Definitive Guide is THE go-to book for learning HTTP. You’ll find it time and again listed as one of the best HTTP books out there.
That’s because of its ease of use, clear explanations, and hundreds of clarifying examples.
If you don’t already have it, now is a great time to scoop it up.
📣 Need more visuals? Learn HTTP alongside developer fundamentals in the video course The Complete Web Developer on Zero to Mastery.
↘️ Ideal for: web programmers, administrators, application developers
↘️ Topics covered: intermediate HTTP concepts
HTTP: Pocket Reference is like a condensed version of HTTP: The Definitive Guide. And while there is a brief tutorial on HTTP, this book is geared towards intermediate developers.
You’ll find quick references to headers and status codes that make up HTTP transactions. In addition, you’ll learn to better understand client requests and server responses. Finally, you’ll explore more advanced features of HTTP like caching and persistent connections.
➡️ HTTP: Pocket Reference is your handy tool to go “beyond the browser” and get right into the meat of core HTTP functions. 🥩
📣 Are you a Scala developer? For an intermediate course on HTTP, check out Pure Functional HTTP APIs in Scala on Educative.io.
The TCP/IP Guide is one of the best HTTP books for learning dozens of Internet protocols and technologies.
↘️ Ideal for: networking professionals
↘️ Topics covered: TCP/IP, HTTP
The TCP/IP Guide by Charles M. Kozierok is an bangin’ internet protocols reference by No Starch Press. And while the content isn’t exclusive to HTTP, you will find full coverage of HTTP.
With over 350 illustrations, you’ll also discover protocols that make TCP/IP function.
In addition to HTTP, you’ll discover dozens of other technologies and protocols that run the Internet like:
And many more.
The TCP/IP Guide is a user-friendly handbook for dozens of Internet protocols and technologies including HTTP.
↘️ Ideal for: web administrators
↘️ Topics covered: Nginx
Nginx is an HTTP server designed for high-traffic sites. It’s lightweight and its main objective is network scalability. Nginx HTTP Server is your detailed guide to Nginx setup for situations like:
- standalone server
- reverse proxy
- application interaction
After preparing a basic configuration and testing your setup, you’ll set Nginx to work with Python, PHP and other applications. You’ll also learn basic troubleshooting techniques.
➡️ Nginx HTTP Server is for web administrators who want to optimize their infrastructure.
This Amazon customer can’t put Nginx HTTP Server down:
📣 Start with the fundamentals in the course HTTP Basics on Treehouse.
↘️ Ideal for: HTTP enthusiasts
↘️ Topics covered: HTTP documentation
The Apache HTTP Server was launched in 1995. It’s been the most popular web server on the Internet since April of 1996. The goal of the Apache HTTP Server Project is to provide an efficient, secure and extensible server providing the best HTTP services in line with today’s standards.
➡️ Apache HTTP Server Documentation Version 2.5 is the complete documentation manual for HTTP.
📣 Are you an aspiring fullstack developer? Learn HTTP through the scope of Node with the course HTTP with Node.js on Pluralsight.
Even though it’s older (2003) HTTP Developer’s Handbook is still one of the best HTTP books for beginners.
↘️ Ideal for: web developers
↘️ Topics covered: software architecture, application security
HTTP Developer’s Handbook is a straightforward introduction to HTTP. After learning HTTP fundamentals, you’ll discover how to improve applications by learning:
- state and session management
- software architecture
- application security
➡️ HTTP Developer’s Handbook is specifically geared towards web developers who want to learn HTTP.
Evan recommends HTTP Developer’s Handbook to devs who need to learn HTTP:
📣 Are you an Angular developer? Learn HTTP with Angular in the course Angular HTTP Communication on Pluralsight.
↘️ Ideal for: practitioners and students
↘️ Topics covered: HTTP/1.1, networking protocols, caching, traffic measurement
Web Protocols and Practice is an all-in-one reference to:
You’ll start by learning how HTTP interacts with other network protocols. Then you’ll explore Web software components and protocols that that determine how content is delivered. Finally, you’ll examine workload characterization.
➡️ Web Protocols and Practice is one of the best HTTP books for diving deep into the anatomy of networking protocols.
What Every Web Developer Should Know About HTTP is one of the best HTTP books for web developers.
↘️ Ideal for: web developers
↘️ Topics covered: resources, authentication protocols, HTTP clients
In HTTP: What Every Web Developer Should Know About HTTP, you’ll go over all things HTTP from the perspective of a web developer:
- authentication protocols
Then you’ll learn how HTTP clients improve performance. From there, you’ll discover cache headers and proxy servers in relation to web scaling.
By the end of this book, you should understand how to build better web apps and web services.
➡️ HTTP: What Every Web Developer Should Know About HTTP is one of the few HTTP books that explores the tradeoffs and issues with HTTP.
Best HTTP Books: HTTP/2
HTTP/2 in Action is one of the best HTTP books for learning HTTP/2.
↘️ Ideal for: web developers, site administrators
↘️ Topics covered: HTTP/2, optimization
HTTP/2 in Action focuses on the major improvements to HTTP including:
➡️ HTTP/2 in action teaches you how to optimize web performance using HTTP/2.
↘️ Ideal for: beginners
↘️ Topics covered: best practices, performance challenges
Learning HTTP/2 is a book geared towards beginners where you’ll discover HTTP/2 and what led to this necessary upgrade. While exploring best practices, you’ll also learn how HTTP/2 has improved certain issues such as:
- packet loss
- Time to First Byte (TTFB)
By the end of this book, you’ll see how HTTP/2 speeds up the execution of websites and applications.
➡️ Learning HTTP/2 will teach you how to build faster, simpler, and more robust applications.
Best HTTP Books: Conclusion
Today we showed you the best HTTP books including:
🔥 Best Overall 🔥
HTTP: The Definitive Guide
💥 Best for Newbies 💥
HTTP Developer’s Handbook
💸 Best Value 💸
What Every Web Developer Should Know About HTTP
So regardless of your needs, we’re confident these are the best HTTP books out there.
HTTP enthusiasts are also reading:
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