When you use a web browser such as Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Edge to surf the web, you may have noticed that there is an address bar at the top that displays the URL of the web page that is currently opened in the browser. Also, you may have noticed that there is a text https//: or http:// before the domain name; you can see that simply by clicking on the URL within the address bar. But what does http or https signify?
Well, it signifies the type of internet protocol that the server of the website uses to exchange data with web browsers.
In this article, we will be highlighting the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. But before we compare them, let’s understand what a network protocol is all about.
What is Network Protocol?
A protocol is a set of rules that governs the process of exchanging data between different devices of a network. Each computer that is connected to the internet (which is also a network) has a unique IP address. The IP address of a device makes it possible for other devices to identify it on the network. The communication that happens between devices is governed by some specific rules defined by the network protocols.
Internet works with different protocols, and which protocol to follow depends upon the user's request. If a user wants to surf a website, the server can communicate with the client device (or web browser) using HTTP or HTTPS protocol. On the other hand, if a user wants to send an email to someone using the internet, then the communication will happen in accordance with the SMTP protocol. Following are some of the most popular network protocols:
- TCP( Transmission control protocol )
- FTP (File transfer protocol)
- SMTP (Simple mail transfer protocol)
HTTPS vs HTTP: Overview, Advantages & Disadvantages
Let's first try to understand what is HTTP and HTTPS along with the advantages and disadvantages that they offer.
What is HTTP?
HTTP is an acronym for HyperText Transfer Protocol, and it is a basic network protocol that is used to facilitate communication between the client and the server. The main purpose of this protocol is to transfer data over the network according to the client's request. In general, whenever we visit a site, the internet uses the HTTP protocol to show us the hypertext of that specific website.
All the information that we can see on our browsers, such as the website hypertext, API, or website content, is because HTTP makes it possible for web browsers to communicate seamlessly with web servers.
In general, an HTTP request is generated when a user enters a website address in the address bar of the browser or just clicks a hyperlink. That request either goes to the origin server or proxy server, and the server generates an HTTP response according to the request and renders the appropriate result on the browser. HTTP is an extension of TCP because it is built on top of it. Also, HTTP uses Hypertext Structure text to establish a logical link between nodes.
Advantages of HTTP
- It can take advantage of caching infrastructure deployed worldwide.
- HTTP can work efficiently with other protocols.
- It is platform-independent.
- If we compare it with HTTPS, HTTP is faster.
- It has a content negotiation feature, which allows the client and server to negotiate over the desired format of the resource.
Disadvantages of HTTP
- It is not secure as the data exchanged using HTTP is not encrypted
- It is not SEO-friendly.
- Data is not secured with an HTTP request.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure . It is the same protocol as HTTP, but it is more secure. Now, mostly all the websites use the HTTPS protocol to render their data on web browsers. In 2014, Google asked all the websites to switch to HTTPS from HTTP for a better SEO search and better webpage ranking, and since then, many websites have moved to HTTPS.
All the famous websites, including Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, etc., uses HTTPS instead of HTTP to provide more security to their users. In HTTP, the data is not encrypted. So, it becomes easier for hackers and cybercriminals to intercept the data exchanged between a client and server in a readable format.
However, HTTPS encrypts the data flowing from server to client. So even if someone steals the encrypted data, it would be of no use without having the right key to decrypt it. That’s how HTTPS provides better security. Also, HTTPS uses SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layer. SSL is used to create a secure and encrypted connection between the server and the client browser.
Advantages of HTTPS
- It uses SSL to set an encrypted and secure connection between the server and the client.
- It provides more security to the user when they make online transactions.
- HTTPS is SEO-friendly.
Disadvantages of HTTPS
- It is possible to steal confidential data stored in the form of a cache.
- It uses more server resources as compared to HTTP.
HTTP Vs HTTPS: Head-to-Head Comparison
|Hypertext Transfer Protocol||Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure|
|Data is not encrypted in HTTP, so it is less secure.||Data is encrypted in HTTPS, which makes it more secure.|
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
|HTTP is not that SEO-friendly, your website would not be able to rank good on Google SERPs.||With HTTPS, you can boost your ranking on Google because HTTPS is more-SEO friendly.|
|HTTP uses port 80.||HTTPS uses port 443.|
|It is faster because it does not encrypt data and establishes a direct connection.||It is slower than HTTP.|
|It requires limited server resources.||It needs more server resources to respond to a client request.|
|HTTP does not use SSL.||HTTPS uses SSL.|
|HTTP is ideal for those websites which do not accept any data from the user, such as blog webpages.||HTTPS is mostly used for those websites which use transaction gateways and store confidential data.|
|HTTP does not encrypt the data and send it in the simple text format from the client to the server or vice versa.||HTTPS uses SSL to encrypt the data.|
|HTTP uses TCP/IP protocols.||It is an extension of HTTP, it uses HTTP along with TLS/SSL.|
HTTP vs HTTPS: Which One is Better?
Considering the growing concern for the security of the web and the people using it, HTTPS is the best choice. Most websites today are using HTTPS to ensure that the data exchange happens securely and their visitors feel safe while sharing their personal data.
Unlike HTTP, HTTPS encrypts the data to make sure that it does not go into the hands of cybercriminals or hackers. While HTTP is undoubtedly fast and requires lesser server resources, it does not meet the security standards required to make the web a safe place for everyone. So, if you are willing to develop and manage a website, it would be best if you go with HTTPS.
So, that was all about the HTTP vs HTTPS topic. Hopefully, this article helped you develop a clear understanding of the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. In a nutshell, HTTP is a protocol that allows the transfer of documents, like HTML files, over the web. Whereas HTTPS is the advanced version of HTTP with added security due to the use of TLS/SSL.
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