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At first glance, the difference between HTTP and HTTPS seems insignificant - just one letter. But therein lies the giant difference.
Simple Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a set of rules for communication between a client and a server. It provides the foundation for network connectivity. When you visit a site on the Internet, your browser sends an HTTP request to a web server and receives a response. The information is passed between the web server and the browser as plain text.
The Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure extension of HTTP. It establishes an encrypted connection between the browser and the server for data transfer.

Important concepts

The device through which the user requests data acts as the client. This is often a web browser, debugging programs, or the command line. The basic principle of a client is that it is the first to send a request.
A server is a device that processes client requests. Multiple virtual servers can reside on the same machine.
Proxy servers are auxiliary servers that are located between the client and the main server. They handle HTTP requests and responses, and are often used for data caching and compression, restriction bypass, and anonymous requests. One or more proxy servers are located between the client and the main server.

How HTTP works

  • The user enters a link into the address bar of the browser. This is necessary to send an HTTP request. The link tells the browser to use the HTTP protocol and retrieve a file from that address.
  • The browser finds the IP address. It sends the entered data to DNS, a system that translates the URL into IP. DNS can be represented as a table with registered domains and their IP addresses. When the IP address is returned to the browser, the latter starts sending an HTTP request with this IP address.
  • After receiving and processing the HTTP request, the server creates an HTTP response and sends it to the client. It contains additional information and requested data.
  • As soon as the browser receives the response with a web page, it displays it on the screen - this completes the process of sending and receiving HTTP requests.

Advantages and disadvantages of HTTP

Any attacker can easily intercept an HTTP connection and gain access to the data being transmitted, be it photos, messages or bank card information. But we should not forget about the advantages inherent in the HTTP protocol.
  • It is ideal for work in local networks where high security is not essential.
  • HTTP pages take up a small amount of memory and are stored in cache, which ensures their fast loading. They open quickly in any browser.

How HTTPS works

HTTPS protocol is an indicator of reliability and security of the site. HTTP vs HTTPS - what is the difference? HTTPS is an advanced version of the HTTP protocol, which combines HTTP and SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or HTTP and TLS (Transport Layer Security). SSL and TSL are protocols that provide encryption for data transmitted between the server and the browser. Only the server and the browser can decrypt them, so sites with HTTPS protocol can safely make purchases and enter your personal data. They become inaccessible to prying eyes because they are encrypted. It is very difficult to hack into a secure connection.

The key difference between https and http

When you visit a website, the browser verifies that the connection is to a real server and not a fake one. The browser contacts the server to establish a secure connection. The server responds by sending a copy of its security certificate. The browser checks it. If everything is OK, the HTTPS connection is established.

Advantages of HTTPS

  • If your site has a secure connection, it can get a higher search engine ranking.
  • Users have become more cautious. Many realize that transmitting sensitive information over an unsecured connection can be dangerous and often leave unsecured sites.
  • Encryption used to be complicated and expensive. Now many hosts provide free SSL certificates.

Key difference between HTTP and HTTPS protocols

  • URLs are different: for HTTP it starts with http, for HTTPS it starts with https.
  • Data transmitted over HTTP goes over port 80, while HTTPS uses port 443.
  • HTTP works at the application layer, while HTTPS works at the transport layer.
  • HTTP does not require SSL certificates.
  • HTTP does not require domain validation.
  • HTTP does not encrypt transmitted data.
Nowadays, HTTPS is an indispensable part of any website, whether it is a simple website or a large online store. Without it, important data can fall into the hands of third parties.
23 Apr 2024, 13:23:23