A Complete Explanation On HTTPs: Know Its Features, Its advantages, Issues, And Its Functionality At A Glance
With the beginning of the internet, http was introduced. It is commonly found in the address bar of your web browser at the beginning of every website’s URL. But what it is exactly? This is a standard network protocol which the servers and clients on the internet use to communicate. It is often found that most of the web browsers are default to HTTPs, you just have to type in the domain name and your browser will autofill the browser with “https://” extension.
What is Http?
HTTPs is an application-layer protocol used by the World Wide Web to define how messages are formatted and transmitted. It is basically a set of rules used for transferring sound, video, graphics, images over the internet. HTTPs is a part of the Internet Protocol suite, which uses a server-client model for transmitting webpage data. Thus, whenever you access a website, your browser sends an HTTPs request to the corresponding server and in response gets a code. If the URL which you have provided is valid and the connection is granted, the server will send you the webpage and its related files.
HTTPs is also responsible for defining commands such as Post and Get, that are used for handling form submissions on different websites. Apart from this, it also defines the Connect command that is used for facilitating a secure SSL encrypted connection. As HTTPs transfers only encrypted information between your web browser and servers, thus, only they possess the key to decrypt the information.
A brief history of HTTPs:
In the early 1990s, the HTTP was created initially by Tim Berners-Lee. It was a part of his work to define the original World Wide Web. During the early 1990s, there were only three versions of HTTP:
- Http 0.9 which supports the basic hypertext documents
- Http 0.1 which supports the rich websites
- Http 1.1 which is developed to address performance limitations.
The latest version of HTTP is 2.0 which maintains backward compatibility by offering additional performance enhancements.
Some of the common HTTP status codes are listed below
- 200 – successful request [This implies that the webpage exists]
- 301 – moved permanently [ It is often forwarded to a new URL]
- 401 – unauthorized request [authorization is required]
- 403 – forbidden access [It has forbidden the access to the page or directory]
- 500 – internal server error [It is very often caused due to an incorrect server configuration]
Three basic features which make Http a simple as well as a powerful protocol:
- HTTP is stateless: The HTTP protocol is stateless in the sense that both the client and server can contact each other only during a current request. After some time of the request been made, both of them forget about each other. Thus, neither the browser nor the client can retain the information across the different web pages, due to this nature of the protocol.
- HTTP is media independent: It particularly means that any type of media or data can be sent by HTTP until it is recognizable with both the client and the server. Thus, both the client and server should be aware of how to handle the recognizable data content. And by using appropriate MIME-type, the content type should be specified for both the client and the server.
- HTTP is connectionless: At first, the browser initiates an HTTP request. As soon as the request is being made, the client gets disconnected from the server and starts to wait for the response. The server ultimately processes the request and again establishes the connection with the client to send back a response.
How does the HTTP protocol work?
As HTTP is built on top of TCP, it uses a client-server communication model. Usually, the servers and clients communicate with each other via HTTP requests, response codes, and messages. Three of the main HTTP messages which are used for communication are:
- HTTP GET messages can be only sent to a server which contains only a URL. Even, there are some zero or more optional data parameters which might be added at the end of the URL. The server processes the optional data portion of the URL and returns the web page or any element of a web page to the web browser.
- HTTP POST messages do not place any optional data parameters at the end of the URL; instead, they add them to the body of the request message.
- HTTP HEAD messages work the same as the GET requests. When the server sends this request message, it sends back only the header information which is contained inside the HTML section, instead of replying with the full contents of the URL.
By initiating a TCP connection with the server, the browser starts the communication with an HTTP server. Sometimes, the web browsing sessions use the default server port 80 and at other times, it uses different ports. After a session is established, the user visits the web page and triggers the sending and receiving of HTTP messages.
Some technical issues with HTTP:
HTTPs requests sometimes fail to deliver successfully when transmitted from the server to the clients. It can be due to some technical bugs, such as:
- User error
- Malfunction of the web browser or web server
- Errors in the creation of web pages
- Temporary network glitches
When these issues appear, if possible the protocol tries to capture the actual cause of the failure and reports back an error code back to the browser, particularly known as the Http code. For instance, 4xx errors imply that the request contains incorrect syntax or the request for the page cannot be completed properly, 404 error indicates that the page cannot be found, etc.
How Is HTTPs advantageous for your website?
If the protocol is enabled and working properly, then undoubtedly the connection to the website is secure. So whenever you are entering your personal information on any website or performing activities like checking out an e-commerce site or filling out a form, make sure that HTTPs is active.
- SEO Boost- HTTP is an important factor in the rankings on search engines. If your website ties up with a competitor, then the HTTP will rank higher. Regardless of these, if you are in competition for some major search keywords, it is irresponsible not to have HTTP not integrated.
- Privacy and security of information- One of the biggest advantages of HTTP is that it provides your website with strong encryption. As a result, it protects the third-parties from performing malicious activities. Especially, it is important for e-commerce websites because their users generally used to send and receive sensitive information.
- Perceived security- Nowadays, people are more and more concerned about their privacy. With the increasing viruses and malware attack, it is easy to steal anyone’s information. But the HTTP encrypted sites are actually secure and that is why major internet technology companies like Google is using the tool to make browsing safer for users.
- Performance of the website- If you are using the right web host, then with HTTP, there is no doubt that your website will get a performance boost. This is the new protocol which is used by the web browsers to connect with the web servers.