HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) are both protocols used for transferring data over the internet, but they have different levels of security.

HTTP-Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

HTTP is the foundation of data communication on the World Wide Web. It is an application layer protocol that governs how data is formatted and transmitted between a client (usually a web browser) and a web server. HTTP operates over a clear-text connection, which means that the data exchanged between the client and server is not encrypted. This lack of encryption makes it susceptible to eavesdropping and tampering by malicious actors. It is considered insecure for transmitting sensitive information like login credentials or personal data.

HTTP connection

Figure-1 depicts simple HTTP connection between client (web user) and web server. As shown this is unsecured HTTP connection and hence prone to intrusion or attack by the hackers. It uses normal TCP/IP and UDP protocols. The normal IP header header is used for routing and data is not encrypted before transmission.

HTTPS-Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure

HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP. It adds a layer of security to data transmission by using encryption. It uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) or its predecessor SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt the data exchanged between the client and server. When you visit a website using HTTPS, your connection to the website is encrypted, making it much more difficult for third parties to intercept or manipulate the data being transmitted. This encryption ensures the confidentiality and integrity of the data.

HTTPS connection

Figure-2 depicts secured HTTPS connection between client (web user) and web server. As shown, as this is secured HTTPS connection in which data is encrypted before transmission, the data is safe for transportation over the connection. This data can not be intruded or attacked by any hackers. Various tunneling protocols are used in order to provide security at layer-2 (data link layer), layer-3 (network layer) and layer-4 (transport layer). IPsec protocol is used at layer-3. TLS/SSL protocols are used at layer-4 i.e. transport layer.

HTTPS uses SSL certificates in order to encrypt the data to be transmitted with the use of public key. Owner of public key can share the key with anyone using the SSL certificate. There is another key known as private key used for encryption process.

HTTPS is indicated by a padlock symbol in the web browser's address bar and the URL begins with "https://" instead of "http://". Major web browsers also mark non-HTTPS websites as "Not Secure" to encourage better security practices.

10 difference between HTTP and HTTPS Protocol with example

HTTP is the standard protocol for transferring data over the internet, but it is not secure for transmitting sensitive information. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, utilizing encryption to protect data during transmission, making it essential for secure online communication, such as e-commerce, online banking, and user authentication on websites. Let us list out difference between HTTP and HTTPS in tabular form.

Full Form Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure
Definition HTTP is used for unsecured communication over internet. HTTPS is used for secured communication over computer network used as internet.
Scrambling HTTP do not scramble the data to be transmitted using code, hence there is a chance that transmitted information is prone to hacking by intruders or hackers. HTTPS scramble the data with code before transmission and does reverse at receiver to recover back the original data. Hence transmitted information is secure and can not be hacked.
Security protocols Do not use any security protocols. It uses security protocols at transport layer SSL/TSL and also at layer-2 and layer-3.
Authentication, Privacy, Integrity Do not support all these. Support all these, provide authentication of websites visited by visitor. It also provides privacy and integrity of the data exchanged between client and server.
Applications HTTP is used for normal web browsing, email messenger applications. HTTPS is mainly used for payment and banking transactions on world wide web (www) , official email transfer and other sensitive transactions done by corporate companies.
Port number It uses port number 80 or 8080. It uses port number 443.
Browser Indication Not indicated as secure Indicated as secure with a pedlock icon or "secure" label in the browser's address bar.
SEO ranking HTTP sites may be ranked lower in search results Google may favor HTTPS websites in search rankings
Certificate requirement Not required Requires an SSL/TLS certificate issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA)
Protocol used It operates at TCP/IP model. HTTPS is not a separate protocol, it operates using ordinary HTTP but over encrypted TLS/SSL connection.
Example URL ,
Reference RFCs It uses RFC 2616, RFC 7230, RFC 7231 It uses RFC 2818, RFC 5246

Conclusion : From above comparison between http vs https, we can conclude following. HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is an unsecured protocol for transferring data over the internet, transmitting data in plain text and lacking encryption and data integrity checks, making it unsuitable for sensitive information. In contrast, HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is the secured version that uses encryption (TLS/SSL) to protect data during transmission, ensuring confidentiality and integrity. HTTPS is indicated in the browser's address bar, is favored by search engines, and requires an SSL/TLS certificate, making it the preferred choice for secure online communication and transactions. HTTPS is the recommended choice for websites and web applications, especially when dealing with sensitive user data or conducting e-commerce transactions, as it provides a higher level of security and trustworthiness compared to plain HTTP.

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