Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS

The main difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that the HTTP is a protocol or a set of rules to transfer files with text, images, audio, video and other multimedia files on WWW while the HTTPS is an extension of HTTP protocol that provides more security to the transmitting data through a Secure Socket Layer (SSL).

The World Wide Web consists of a large number of web pages. Users can transfer data within a short amount of time via the network. HTTP and HTTPS are two protocols used for communication. HTTP is a protocol that helps to exchange hypermedia over the internet. HTTPS is an extension of HTTP. In brief, HTTPS is more secure than HTTP as it uses a certification called SSL certificate. It enables encrypted communication and secure connection between the user and the server.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is HTTP
     – Definition, Functionality
2. What is HTTPS
     – Definition, Functionality
3. Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Header, HTTP, HTTPS, HTTP Message, HTTP Response

Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS - Comparison Summary

What is HTTP

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. It is based on the TCP/IP protocol. The International Standard Organization has defined a model called Open System Interconnection or the OSI model that can be used in communication. This model helps to get an understanding of how communication occurs between the sender and the receiver. It is a layered model.  HTTP works in the application layer of the OSI model. It is used to deliver web pages. It is also possible to transfer text, audio, video, images using this protocol.

HTTP works according to the request and response cycle. For example, when the user or the client browses for pediaa.com, he is requesting a web page from the server. That request is sent to the server as an HTTP message. Then, the server responds back by providing the correct web page.

Main Difference - HTTP vs HTTPS

An HTTP message consists of three sections: start line, header, and body. The start line contains the method (GET, POST), URI (Uniform Resource Identifier), and HTTP version. The URI helps the server to find the location of the resource. The header contains the name, value pairs. There will be no content in the body section if it is a request.  

The HTTP response also has the same three sections. There is no method or URI in the start line. The start line contains the HTTP version and the status code. The status code helps to inform the client whether the request is successful or not. The header contains the same information as in the request while the body section contains the requested file.

What is HTTPS

HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. It transfers data securely via the network. HTTPS is also known as HTTP over TLS, HTTP over SSL and HTTP secure. The objective of designing this protocol is to improve privacy when communicating with websites. It is used in banking websites, online e-commerce websites, etc. It is also used in Google.com, Facebook, Twitter and many more.

To secure the website, the owner should purchase SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate. They are expensive and can be obtained by hosting companies. This SSL certificate is similar to an online identification card. This certificate also helps to encrypt the data to pass via HTTPS protocol.

Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS_Figure 2

When the user or the client requests a webpage, the server checks the SSL certificate. It verifies the identity of the website. Then the data is sent from the server to the client. The response message is encrypted at the server’s end and decrypted at the client’s end. An unauthorized party cannot read this message as it is encrypted. Therefore, HTTPS provides more security in communication.

Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS

Definition

HTTP is an application protocol for distributed, collaborative, and hypermedia information systems. HTTPS is an extension of HTTP protocol for secure communication over a computer network.

Stands for

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol is the long form of HTTP while Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure is the long form of HTTPS.  

Security

HTTPS is more secure than HTTP.

Layer of OSI Model

While HTTP works in the application layer of the OSI model, HTTPS works in the transport layer of the OSI model.

Certification

HTTPS uses SSL certificate while HTTP does not use a certificate.

Encryption and Decryption

There is no encryption and decryption in HTTP. But, encryption and decryption occur in HTTPS.

Usage

Whereas HTTP helps to transfer text, audio, video, images through web pages, HTTPS helps to transfer data securely via the network.

Conclusion

The difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that HTTP is a protocol or a set of rules to transfer files with text, images, audio, video and other multimedia files on WWW while HTTPS is an extension of HTTP protocol that provides more security to the transmitting data through a Secure Socket Layer (SSL).  In brief, HTTPS is more secure than HTTP.

Reference:

1. Explained HTTP, HTTPS, SSL/TLS, JackkTutorials, 8 Jan. 2017, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Internet1″ By Kulandru mor – Own work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “HTTPS and padlock in website address bar” By Santeri Viinamäki (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lithmee

Lithmee holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems Engineering and is reading for her Master’s degree in Computer Science. She is passionate about sharing her knowldge in the areas of programming, data science, and computer systems.

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