HTTP vs HTTPS: Understand the differences

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is an application layer protocol governing the flow of information on the World Wide Web. This article will explain the difference between HTTP vs HTTPs. HTTP works on the client-server model. A web browser is the client and makes requests to a web server. Basically, HTTP is a TCP/IP based communication protocol used for encoding and transporting information between client and server. Both HTTP and HTTPS are stateless protocols because it executes each command independently without retaining the information from previous sessions.

What is Cryptography?

Cryptography refers to the process of converting ordinary plain text into a coded form. This is done to protect the information from any kind of theft or alterations. It involves storing and transmitting data in an encrypted form so that it can only be read and processed by the intended persons.

encrypted vs not encrypted data

How an HTTPs server works

HTTPS is a secured version of the HTTP protocol. It establishes a secure communication link between the browser and server by encrypting the data. The HTTPS protocol is paired with TLS (transport layer security). It guarantees the data privacy for the end user.

HTTPS server basically works according to the process of handshake for setting up a secure connection.

Whenever your browser connects to HTTPS server, the server acknowledges with its certificate. After this browser carries out a check for verifying the validity of the certificate. The certificate is valid only if:

  • the owner information matches with the server name that the user requested for.

  • the certificate is signed by a legitimate certification authority.

If any of these conditions fail, the user receives a warning about the problem.

When HTTPS is used, a series of handshakes take place. Firstly, the initial step involves sending a request to the server for verification. If it is the desired one where information is destined to reach it responds back by sending an acknowledgment message. Thus after verification of authentic destination client sends a hello message. After this information becomes encrypted and is exchanged via the use of encryption keys or ciphers.

The difference between HTTP vs HTTPs

HTTP is a set of protocols governing how any information can be transmitted on the World Wide Web. It defines a set of standard rules for web browsers & servers to communicate. It is an application layer protocol working on TCP/IP. It’s much riskier to intercept data transferred using HTTP rather than HTTPS. It happens because of the lack of data encryption. HTTP server works over port 80.

Whereas on the other hand its extension and advanced version, HTTPS is fully secure. HTTPS works in conjunction with SSL/TLS protocols, thereby protecting the information from theft or changes. An HTTPS server works over port 443.

http vs https data

What is a SSL certificate ?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, also known as Digital certificate is used for establishing secure and encrypted communication between a website and an internet browser. It works by creating a secure link between a website and a visitor’s browser. A few years ago, SSL certificates were only most common on a few websites. At that time, only sites where users provided personal data, credit card information or private data. Nowadays, the whole internet is changing. Most of the sites now have SSL certificates and works over HTTPS.

HTTPS and SEO on Google

It’s a tendency to have all the internet running over secure servers. Within the Google algorithm update on April 16th of 2017, Google is valuing much more HTTPS sites nowadays. In other words, it’s very difficult to get good rankings with a HTTP website.

In version 68 of Google Chrome, it warns as risky all the non secure websites, and shows a broken lock icon to the customers.

What kinds of cryptographies are available and their differences

Basically, there are two main types of cryptographic algorithms based on the number of keys employed for encryption and decryption. They are

1. The secret key (symmetric cryptography)
2. Public Key (asymmetric cryptography)

Secret key cryptography methods make use of a single key for both encryption and decryption process. The same key is used by the user for encrypting a plain text and sending a ciphertext to the receiver. Thus this key is shared within all the parties involved in the communication. Because of the use of a single key, this process is also referred to as symmetric cryptography.

Advantages:

  • Symmetric key algorithms are computationally less intensive and are easy to carry out.

  • Symmetric key algorithms are faster than the asymmetric ones.

  • This method is best if you use encryption for messages or files which you alone intend to access, thus there is no need to create different keys.

Whereas the Public Key cryptography methods make use of two dissimilar but mathematically related keys. Unlike, to Secret key method, here each key performs a unique function. In this method anyone can encrypt the message but, but only the holder of the paired private key can decrypt it.

Advantages:

  • This method is more secure than password as anyone trying to access data is required to obtain both the private key and the corresponding passphrase to be regarded as an authentic user.

  • Provides stronger identity checking through secret private keys.

  • Provides the facility of non-interactive login.

  • It solves the problem of distributing the key for encryption. Everyone publishes their public keys and private keys remain hidden.

  • Allows detection of message alterations by using digital signatures.

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