What is Hypertext Transfer Protocol? – Definition, Differences, And More

Definition Hypertext Transfer Protocol(HTTP)

Hypertext Transfer Protocol(HTTP) is a set of rules that a server has to follow when it comes to the transmission of files (images, videos, audio, and other forms of files) through the World Wide Web. When a user opens a browser, they are already using HTTP. This application protocol runs through the top of the TCP / IP suite of protocols.

Also read: What is VLAN? – Definition, Uses, Benefits, And More


The mechanics and concepts behind HTTP include that files are related to other files through a series of references. This selection will trigger additional streaming requests. Every web server device contains a program called an HTTP daemon, which receives HTTP requests and handle them when they arrive. A web browser is an HTTP client that continually sends requests to server devices. The user enters the requests for files through a web file, which in this case, is usually a URL or clicks on a link; the browser creates an HTTP request and then sends it to an IP that gets indicated through the URL.

HTTP follows the cycle given every time it sends a request

  • The browser would request an HTML page. The server will return an HTML file from the host.1
  • The browser would request a style sheet. The server returns a CSS file.
  • The browser requests a JPG image. The server returns a JPG file.
  • The browser would request a JavaScript code. The server will return a JS file.
  • The browser requests different forms of data. The server returns the data in the form of JSON files or XML.

HTTP – No data encryption

Each URL link uses HTTP as the most basic type of hypertext transfer protocol. An HTTP is the same as a system that does not belong to any state, allowing any connection to get enabled on demand.

It is an application layer protocol. It focuses on the information, not on how the data got transmitted from the source host to the recipient. HTTP can become detrimental, as this means of delivery can be easily intercepted and tracked by malicious third-party users (hackers).

The technical difference between HTTP and HTTPS

  • HTTP uses TCP port 80, while HTTPS uses TCP port 4433.
  • It is insecure, while HTTPS is a secure protocol.
  • HTTP works within the application layer, while HTTPS works within the transport security layer (TLS).
  • No SSL certificate required for HTTP, but HTTPS requires a Certificate Authority (CA) to sign and implement an SSL certificate.
  • HTTP does not necessarily require domain validation, while HTTPS mandatorily requires domain validations and specific certifications that do require a legal process.
  • There is no data encryption over HTTP while the data is getting encrypted just before it gets transmitted for HTTPS.
  • HTTPS is an extension of HTTP. In this case, it works together with another protocol, namely Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), to transmit the data securely.
  • Both HTTP and HTTPS do not route the data to its destination. By contrast, SSL has no function to do with how the data will appear.
  • Users often falsely believe that HTTPS and SSL are the same protocols. HTTPS is secure since it uses SSL for data transmission. Currently, SSL is slowly being phased out by TSL, as it is an even more secure method of data encryption to be sent.

Also read: What is Virtual Reality? – Definition, Types, Uses, And More

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Kamran Sharief

I write about technology, marketing and digital tips. In the past I've worked with Field Engineer, Marcom Arabia and You can reach me at

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