The Windows Club

Difference between HTTP and HTTPS

A lot of people end up getting confused when they see two different URL’s one as HTTP and other as HTTPS. So what is the difference between these two? In this post, I will discuss the evolution of HTTP and the difference between HTTP and HTTPS in simple term so that it makes sense quite easily.

What is HTTP

It is always necessary to know something about basics before going to the advanced topics. HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. It is the system for transmitting and receiving information across server and the client. The Server is the machine where your website code is placed, and the client is nothing but your browser. HTTP manages the mutual understanding between the server and the client to exchange information or data successfully. The first HTTP had only one method called as GET, which would request a page from the server and the response was an HTML page. The latest version of HTTP defines nine request methods.

If you visit any website you may see the address gets prefixed with HTTP:// this means your browser is now connected to the server using HTTP. Now the HTTP isn’t the safest way to establish a connection, the problem with HTTP though is that it is vulnerable to people who might want to eavesdrop or see what your activity is all about.

This shouldn’t be any concern when you are just browsing any website or just Bing’ing, the problem comes when you are making a financial transaction over Internet. As we all know, Internet is not exactly a safe place. Apart from searching and browsing websites, we need to engage in money transactions, online purchases and secure file transfers. So how do we secure such financial transactions? The answer is HTTPS.

What is HTTPS

HTTPS or Secure HTTP some may call it is a combination of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) with SSL/TLS protocol. Now everything you communicate over HTTPS will be sent and received in encrypted form, which adds the element of safety.

As when a client makes a request to the server, the server responds by offering a list of encryption methods. When the client connects to a website via HTTPS, the website encrypts the session with a digital certificate. Secure Sockets Layer or SSL uses a cryptographic system that encrypts data with two keys that is browser and server send each other unique codes which are used for encryption for rest of the talk.

Https is used in many situations, such as log-in pages for banking, forms, corporate logins, and other applications in which data needs to be secured. It is always advised to never enter credit card details on websites that run on HTTP.

Difference between HTTP and HTTPS

1)      In case of HTTP URL begins with “HTTP://” and for HTTPS connection it is “HTTPS://”

2)      HTTP is unsecured on other hand HTTPS is secured.

3)      HTTP uses port 80 for communication unlike HTTPS which uses port 443

4)      No certificates required for validation in case of HTTP. HTTPS requires SSL Digital Certificate

5) No encryption in HTTP; Data encrypted before sending and receiving in HTTPS.

Hope this has cleared the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. If you have any questions or observations to make, please do comment.

You can read about HTTPS Security and Spoofing here.