What is the Difference Between Http and Https?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http) is a system for transmitting and receiving information across the Internet. Http serves as a request and response procedure that all agents on the Internet follow so that information can be rapidly, easily, and accurately disseminated between servers, which hold information, and clients, who are trying to access it. Http is commonly used to access html pages, but other resources can be utilized as well through http. In many cases, clients may be exchanging confidential information with a server, which needs to be secured in order to prevent unauthorized access. For this reason, https, or secure http, was developed by Netscape corporation to allow authorization and secured transactions.

Https, or secure http.
Https, or secure http.

In many ways, https is identical to http, because it follows the same basic protocols. The http or https client, such as a Web browser, establishes a connection to a server on a standard port. When a server receives a request, it returns a status and a message, which may contain the requested information or indicate an error if part of the process malfunctioned. Both systems use the same Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) scheme, so that resources can be universally identified. Use of https in a URI scheme rather than http indicates that an encrypted connection is desired.

Http is not encrypted.
Http is not encrypted.

There are some primary differences between http and https, however, beginning with the default port, which is 80 for http and 443 for https. Https works by transmitting normal http interactions through an encrypted system, so that in theory, the information cannot be accessed by any party other than the client and end server. There are two common types of encryption layers: Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), both of which encode the data records being exchanged.

When using an https connection, the server responds to the initial connection by offering a list of encryption methods it supports. In response, the client selects a connection method, and the client and server exchange certificates to authenticate their identities. After this is done, both parties exchange the encrypted information after ensuring that both are using the same key, and the connection is closed. In order to host https connections, a server must have a public key certificate, which embeds key information with a verification of the key owner's identity. Most certificates are verified by a third party so that clients are assured that the key is secure.

Https is used in many situations, such as log-in pages for banking, forms, corporate log ons, and other applications in which data needs to be secure. However, if not implemented properly, https is not infallible, and therefore it is extremely important for end users to be wary about accepting questionable certificates and cautious with their personal information while using the Internet.

The http or https client, such as a web browser, establishes a connection to a server on a standard port.
The http or https client, such as a web browser, establishes a connection to a server on a standard port.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon997064

Very helpful information. Very clearly and simply described.

anon195350

To the point information. Useful and can be easily understood by a commoner.

anon186351

Could you provide some more information related to protocols?

anon166036

It's good and easily understandable

anon158623

https is just secure for preventing unauthourized access. it works like a proxy server.

anon149497

thanks for crystal clarification between the two http and https.

anon118810

Many thanks. I'm a newbie and learned something new.

anon118076

The best question I have not seen asked. Why?

Why would a company have both http:// and https:// The user is only told to go to the http://site. The owner or someone else knows about the https://site. Why? I am referring to websites that do request very private information! This has to be best question of the day! Why would a checked out clean site do this? Why?

anon116835

thank you very much. it really cleared my basic doubts. Thanks once again. Nishank

anon114585

wow! Awesome explanation man! well done. Dev, sys-admin.

anon110920

it was really a nice concept to understand for new readers.

anon110456

Detailing about http and https is very good. Even a layman like me can understand. Thank you. - Sateesh K.

anon108513

How can we create an SSL certificate ourselves and how do we install our own SSL certificate?

anon105835

nice post. it really help me know more, although basic, important information. thanks!

anon105339

Nice article and it explains the basics of http and https. Keep it up.

anon104489

It was good. thanks for your information.

anon104105

can you please explain with some examples?

anon102670

It's very helpful and one can easily get to know about http and https.

anon102669

it's really easy to understand, and a better way to get to know the details.

anon101768

very good article. keep it up

anon100100

Very nice. It's a good article.

anon97774

it was very good and easy to understand by a new reader as well.

anon96733

great concept. it's too simple and easy to understand. Thanks.

anon96156

good. gives basic information.

anon95908

Good one, useful for me.

anon94338

Good one.

anon93859

it was good.

anon93151

very good article and very much useful. Thanks for letting me know the difference between http and https.

anon93121

thanks, your article is very simple and helpful.

anon92267

Thanks. Your articles are short and easy to understand.

anon92002

Good post.

anon90226

good details in simple, user friendly language. Good work.

anon89272

really worthwhile and simple way of presentation.

anon89157

Thanks for clearing up the difference between http and https.

anon88629

Thanks for this. I appreciate it.

anon88278

This post impressed me. Good.

anon88130

According to me, its a very good description about http and https.

anon88099

Simply superb. Thanks for your info.

anon87870

good work.

anon86869

Great job dear. Is there any effect on SEO?

Thanks, sathish.

anon85410

Really useful article. Thanks.

anon85332

great explanation of the difference between http: and https: great job Leo!

anon83793

Short and sweet without much getting deep into complexities of technical stuff.. Great efforts. -M.Aziz

anon83468

I want to know functional/technical difference between HTTP and HTTPS.

anon83232

nice post in simple words.

anon77315

Thanks. Really, i was always confused on this, but when i read this pages then my confusion has been cleared. Really, thanks very much.

anon77299

Very good reply and easy to understand.

anon76788

very nice information that was really useful.

anon76767

It is described in very simple language.Thanks a lot. Kailash S. (Cavinkare Pvt.Ltd. Haridwar)

anon76185

Very easy to understand! --Subbu, Mumbai

anon75563

thanks. it's really a useful article.

anon74992

thank you very much. it really cleared my basic doubts. Thanks once again.

anon74793

Great piece of info.

anon74536

Nice.

anon73970

Excellent overview. I am a computer engineering student and I appreciate your work.

anon73948

good info.

anon73561

Nice article. Thanks. Prabu R.

anon72851

Nice post. Allan J.

anon72645

Nice article! Very much helpful for me. --gunasekhar

anon71312

Good one. Small effort and good effect.

anon69944

Really a nice article. (Dinesh the network King!)

anon69729

Good. It's really a nice article giving a clear overview of the required content. Thank you.

anon68899

can you post more on http and https?

anon68565

Thanks for the post. May i know some examples where we can use "http" and "https"? -Manohar G

anon68338

it's really nice and very simple to understand.

anon67502

Information shared was very useful. Thank you.

-Manohar

anon65480

This is really very nice and helpful to understand. Thanks.

anon65089

Thanks for giving such a clear and precise differences.

anon64998

something's bothering me for a while: if I have a form on http:// and action of the form is https:// are the submitted data on the form encrypted and safe? asking because it's "sent" from a not-secure page? any idea?

anon64879

Short and to the point. Very informative.

anon64553

it's clearly given what the difference is. thank you.

anon64051

Good article.

anon62893

It's good information to get clear idea about HTTP and HTTPS. --Magukutti.

anon62016

a nice article for beginner. helps in understanding the basic difference between http and https.

anon61222

pretty good info about http and https. thanks for the author who provided this.

anon60149

Very good information is posted here. But we are looking for a detailed description.

anon57538

HTTPS encrypts the values that is sent during the postbacks, all the viewstate data will be in encrypted format. where as HTTP doesn't encrypt the postback values and will be in string format. Options for configuring different security level will be done in IIS or web server. Client may or may not have certificates. it depends on the web server security configuration. Correct me if am wrong :) mv kotekar Thank you.

anon55522

I am still confuses with this. Should I know the functional difference between this two?

Thanks in advance. --Arvind

anon54902

I want to know the actual functional or technical working of both HTTP and HTTPS, as well as the functional differences between them.

anon54901

It's a good article. Gives basic information about http and https.

anon54389

Very nice article.

anon54125

A sweet, short and complete picture of the topic

anon52981

Https works in the transport layer and http in the presentation layer.

anon52432

It's a good article, giving basic information about http and https. Nice work.

anon52177

It's a good article.

anon51502

It's really a very good answers. i am able to sort out all my queries. thanks.

anon51061

Really nice answer.

anon50715

It's a good article. it cleared my questions.

Thank you.

anon48859

really good article! by sarath

anon48629

It's really nice information.

anon47761

nice article. it may be helpful to new comers. thanks anilaluvala

anon47737

Very informative to understand the basic difference, which will help even a layman to have a nice idea. Rajesh

anon47340

Nice article. Informative.

anon44610

good article.

anon44569

What are the advantages of https?

anon43593

good article, nicely posted.

anon43423

great, it's really a great article. i was just looking for this kind of article about difference between http and https. thanks

anon43254

A more elaborate description should be post terms a user can understand.

anon42403

Good one. I really want to know about secure connections over the web!

anon41587

good one. really helps

anon41310

Useful information -- Aparna

anon40297

It really helps.

anon39763

Great article!

anon38004

in which layer of Model it differ?means network layer or presentation layer?

anon37997

i am getting an issue when posting to a HTTP URL...i am using a https connetion in my code...

should it give an error ???

anon37653

if https is secured then why do we use http

anon35081

How can we create Https in web browsers

anon34595

Most of the webmails like gmail, yahoo etc.. use secured http(https) but why rediff mail is not using secured one? Does it mean it is not at all secured?

anon31538

What are the advantages of https?

anon15931

It's a good article.. Giving basic information about http & https..

praavin007

I want to know the actual functional or technical working of both HTTP and HTTPS, as well as the functional differences between them.

anon5734

I want to know functional/technical difference between HTTP and HTTPS.

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