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HTTP/2 is a major new iteration of the HTTP protocol, that provides a far more efficient transport, with potential performance benefits. HTTP/2 does not change the core semantics of the request or response, but alters the way that data is sent to and from the server.

Rather than the text format that HTTP/1.1 uses, HTTP/2 is a binary format. The binary format provides full request and response multiplexing, and efficient compression of HTTP headers. The stream multiplexing means that where HTTP/1.1 requires one TCP stream for each concurrent request, HTTP/2 allows a single TCP stream to handle multiple concurrent requests.

HTTP/2 also provides support for functionality such as response prioritization, and server push.

For a comprehensive guide to HTTP/2 you may want to check out "http2 explained".

Enabling HTTP/2

When using the httpx client, HTTP/2 support is not enabled by default, because HTTP/1.1 is a mature, battle-hardened transport layer, and our HTTP/1.1 implementation may be considered the more robust option at this point in time. It is possible that a future version of httpx may enable HTTP/2 support by default.

If you're issuing highly concurrent requests you might want to consider trying out our HTTP/2 support. You can do so by first making sure to install the optional HTTP/2 dependencies...

$ pip install httpx[http2]

And then instantiating a client with HTTP/2 support enabled:

client = httpx.AsyncClient(http2=True)

You can also instantiate a client as a context manager, to ensure that all HTTP connections are nicely scoped, and will be closed once the context block is exited.

async with httpx.AsyncClient(http2=True) as client:

HTTP/2 support is available on both Client and AsyncClient, although it's typically more useful in async contexts if you're issuing lots of concurrent requests.

Inspecting the HTTP version

Enabling HTTP/2 support on the client does not necessarily mean that your requests and responses will be transported over HTTP/2, since both the client and the server need to support HTTP/2. If you connect to a server that only supports HTTP/1.1 the client will use a standard HTTP/1.1 connection instead.

You can determine which version of the HTTP protocol was used by examining the .http_version property on the response.

client = httpx.AsyncClient(http2=True)
response = await client.get(...)
print(response.http_version)  # "HTTP/1.0", "HTTP/1.1", or "HTTP/2".