Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS

Before listing out the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, it is very important to know what is actually meant by HTTP and HTTPS.

What is HTTP ?

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. To put it in simple words, this is the protocol that allows you to communicate with websites. HTTP protocol works on the client-server relationship. Let’s say that you have a laptop with a browser installed which will be used to communicate with any website. The browser in this case acts as your Client. We go ahead and type in the web address in the browser and hit enter. What happens then ? Well, the information is requested from the computer where it is stored in, called the Server. Once the information is retrieved from the server, it is rendered on the client in the form of a web page. In this case, your web browser. The HTTP protocol is used in this entire process.

What is HTTPS ?

HTTPS on the other hand stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. In the above example, the entire process from enquiring the information from the client, retrieving it from the server and till it was rendered as a webpage was not secure. That means, there are techniques by which hackers can see the information that is being transferred. HTTPS uses an encryption, an SSL protocol to safeguard the information that is being sent from the client to the server and vice versa. In short, the entire transaction is safe and secure and no one can eavesdrop on it. This is the reason why HTTPS is used for the payment gateways, emails and all the other websites where information security is the top priority. This is the most important difference between HTTP and HTTPS. We use a trusted signed certificate for the server in case of HTTPS. There are various signing authorities where the certificates can be obtained from.

I have created a couple of illustrations will explain the difference in a very simple-to-understand form.

Difference between http and https

http vs https

HTTP vs HTTPS

  • URL for the HTTP begins with http:// and that for HTTPS with https://
  • HTTP used port 80 for communication. HTTPS uses port 443.
  • HTTPS requires an SSL digital certificate which is not required in case of HTTP.
  • As discussed earlier, HTTP is unsecured whereas HTTPS is secured.
  • HTTPS uses encryption which is not used in HTTP.
  • HTTPS operates at the transport layer of the OSI model. HTTP operates at the application layer.

I hope that I was able to explain the difference between HTTP and HTTPS protocol through this post and the illustrations. Do let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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