What is the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?

What is the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?

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Jaya
Jaya Sharma
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Oct 17, 2023 18:49 IST

HTTP and HTTPS are both protocols used for transmitting data over the web, but they have a crucial difference concerning security.

HTTP transfers data in plain text, making it vulnerable to eavesdropping or tampering by malicious entities. In contrast, HTTPS incorporates an additional layer of security using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security). This layer encrypts the data being transferred, ensuring that any intercepted information remains unreadable.

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While surfing the internet, you might have noticed http:// or https:// before the start of a URL in a browser’s address bar. If you are keen on finding out what these two are, this post will help you. Here, we will understand what is HTTP and HTTPS. We will also explore the difference between HTTP and HTTPS and understand how to move to HTTPS from HTTP.

Table of Contents

What is the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?

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HTTP HTTPS
The full form of HTTP is Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The full form of HTTPS is Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure
URL begins with http:// URL begins with https://
It uses port number 80. It sends the data over port number 443.
HTTP is an application layer protocol. HTTPS is a transport layer protocol.
Less secure and vulnerable to hacking attacks. It is highly secure.
It does not contain an SSL certificate. HTTPS contains an SSL certificate.
HTTP websites do not use data encryption. HTTPS websites use data encryption.
It is fast. It is slower than HTTP.
HTTP does not help in improving search rankings. HTTPS provides SEO advantages as Google gives the preferences to websites that use HTTPS.

What is HTTP?

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the foundation of any data exchange on the World Wide Web (www full form). It provides a set of rules and standards that control how any information can transfer on the World Wide Web.

HTTP is an application layer protocol in the Internet protocol suite model (TCP/IP). It is a client-server protocol that enables web browsers and web servers to communicate. When a user makes an HTTP request on the browser, the server sends the requested data to the user in the form of web pages.

HTTP is a stateless protocol. This means that every transaction will be executed separately. On completion of a transaction between the web browser and the server, the connection gets lost.

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HTTP Request/Response

Here is how the communication between clients and servers takes place with HTTP requests and responses:

  • The client (browser) sends an HTTP request to the web
  • A web server will receive the request
  • The webserver will run an application to process the request
  • The server will return an HTTP response to the browser
  • The client will receive the response

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS refers to the secure version of HTTP. It establishes a secure connection between client and server. It uses the Transport Layer Security (TLS) security protocol, the successor of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt the data before transmission. Thus, the data remains safe throughout the connection path.

The TLS protocol uses an asymmetric public key infrastructure with two keys –

  • Private key: This key decrypts the information that is encrypted by the public key. It is available on the webserver and is managed by the website owner.
  • Public key: This key converts the data into an encrypted form and is available to everyone.
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Which is Better – HTTP vs HTTPS?

If you want to start a new website, you can use the HTTPS protocol, which is more secure. If your website currently uses HTTP, then you can switch to HTTPS. While there are many benefits of HTTPS over HTTP, there are some challenges that we may face if we do not follow the correct procedure to switch from HTTP to HTTPS.

Must Read: Difference Between Hardware and Software?

How to Switch from HTTP to HTTPS?

Here are the steps to switch from HTTP to HTTPS:

  • Prepare: Moving from HTTP to HTTPS is a big move. Thus, you must conduct it when your website is not very busy.
  • Purchase and Install an SSL Certificate: You can purchase an SSL certificate from your website host. They can also install and configure it. You will have to decide which of the three certificate types is best suited for your website needs – Domain Validated (DV SSL), Organization Validated (OV SSL), and Extended Validation (EV SSL).
  • Enable HTTPS: Migrating to HTTPS will depend on the size of your website. If your website is huge, you must perform it in phases. Going from subdomains to the most crucial part of your website.
  • Once the HTTPS is correctly installed and running, you can access the HTTPS version of your pages.
  • 301 Redirects From HTTP to HTTPS: 301 redirects will tell the search engine that the site has changed. It needs to be indexed under the new protocols. You can set up 301 redirects to redirect traffic from servers to your new HTTPS protocol automatically if you use a CMS. Otherwise, you will need to do it manually.

Conclusion

In this blog, we learned what are HTTP and HTTPs as well as the difference between the two. HTTPS offers many advantages over HTTP in terms of security. HTTPS is better when it comes to accepting sensitive information from users. Today, web browser users are encouraged to trust only websites implementing HTTPS. As it can help them reduce hacking threats and attacks.

FAQs

What is the full form of HTTP?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It enables the communication between web clients and web servers.

What is the full form of HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is a combination of the HTTP and Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, enabling us to communicate securely with the webserver.

What is the main difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

The major difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that HTTP does not provide any mechanism to encrypt the data. On the other hand, HTTPS provides SSL or TLS digital certificates to secure the communication between server and client. HTTPS is more secure than HTTP.

Why HTTP protocol is not safe?

The HTTP protocol is not safe because it does not encrypt the data on a web page when it is in transit. This data is vulnerable to access by hackers.

What is an SSL or TLS certificate?

SSL (full form Secure Socket Layer) and its successor, TLS (Transport Layer Security), are cryptographic protocols. SSL or TLS certificate is a type of digital certificate used by websites to prove their identity and establish encrypted connections.

About the Author
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Jaya Sharma
Senior Executive Content

Jaya is a writer with an experience of over 5 years in content creation and marketing. Her writing style is versatile since she likes to write as per the requirement of the domain. She has worked on Technology, Fina... Read Full Bio

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