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A Guide to HTTP and the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS

The difference between http and https

The Internet works on a set of rules or Protocols that allows the Internet to function in the right manner. The Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is one such protocol on which the Internet works. 

In the previous blogs, we have learned about various protocols such as the STP Protocol. These are also some sets of rules that allow the communication of a client to the server. In this blog, we will learn about the HTTP protocol. 

Note: If you haven’t read the previous blog of our CCNA 200-301 series, I highly recommend you do so. 

We will also learn about the HTTPS protocol and how it is different from the HTTP protocol. Without any further wait, let us start learning about HTTP and how it works!

What is HTTP?

The Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a set of rules that govern the working of the Internet. It allows the communication of a web browser with its web server. For example, if you enter on your web browser, it will connect you to Instagram’s servers.

Therefore HTTP helps in the exchange of information from a particular website. You must have seen the prefix ‘http’ or ‘https’ before any website when you enter it on a web browser. 

However, you must remember that the connection formed between the web browser and the server is an open connection and the data is linked via plain text. HTTP works on a client-server model. This means that the HTTP works on a request-response model.

When a request is sent by a computer to the server, the server responds by connecting the user to that particular website’s server. Therefore, HTTP is a very important protocol for Internet to make it work.

What are the Components of an HTTP-Based Model?

As we know, HTTP is a client-server protocol. The request is sent by one entity, the user agent (or a proxy on its behalf). The user agent is mostly the web browser.

Before we understand the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, let us first learn about the components of the HTTP model. The components are as follows:

Components of an HTTP-Based Model

1. Client:

  • The client refers to the user agent. 
  • It is called so as it acts on the behalf of the user.
  • The request is initiated by the web browser that a client has access to.

2. Proxy:

  • Any device that is present between the client and the server is referred to as a proxy.
  • Therefore, a router, a switch, a firewall, or even a gateway can be a proxy.
  • Numerous computers or machines convey HTTP messages.
  • These devices operating in the Application Layer are called proxies.

Proxies can perform the following functions as follows:

  • Caching: 

Whenever you search for something on your web browser, it is stored in the form of a cache.

  • Filtering:

Anything such as a firewall/gateway or even Network Access Control List (NACL) can act as a filtering unit that scans for viruses.

  • Load Balancing:

All the requests that are sent to the server are distributed amongst the various servers to handle the load of requests. This is called load balancing. This avoids the sites from crashing.

  • Authentication:

It verifies if the user is authentic or not. It, therefore, controls access to various resources.

  • Logging:

All the details of logging in and the access information is stored here. It also stores the time of logging in and out of the users.

3. Server:

  • A server is a computer program or a device that provides service to another computer, generally to a client.
  • A server is visible as a single machine virtually.
  • A server may contain a collection of servers that share the load together.
  • The server takes on the responsibility to answer the request of the client.
  • The reply is reverted from the nearest server.
  • Servers can be many.

What is HTTPS?

There had to be a better alternative to HTTP which was secure enough for the user. This led to the adoption of HTTPS. As the name suggests, the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Security (HTTPS) is a secure version of HTTP.

It builds a secure connection between the web browser and the user (client) so that the client can perform a safe surf on the Internet. Messages such as audio, video, image, or text files are end-to-end encrypted. This makes it difficult for any hacker to crack the data.

Let us now learn the difference between the HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

What is the Difference between HTTP and HTTPS Protocols?

Before we go on and learn about the differences between HTTP and HTTPS protocols, you must know that both of them are sateless protocols. It does not store information from your session. It means that it always refreshes the pages on the Internet. However, it is not useful in cases of transaction pages where you do not want to refresh the session.

It also means that one browser is not aware of what page is opened in another browser!



  • HTTP is not secure as the data gets transferred in the form of plain text.
  • HTTPS is a secure protocol. The data is in encrypted form. Therefore, it is difficult for a hacker to intervene.
  • In HTTP, the URL starts from “http://”.
  • In HTTPS, the URL starts from “https://”.
  • For communication, HTTP uses port number 80.
  • The port number that is used by HTTPS for communication is 443.
  • It works in the Application Layer.
  • It works in the Transport Layer.
  • It works faster than HTTPS as it is not secure.
  • It works a little slower than HTTP as it is secure and performs authentication.
  • There is no encryption present in HTTP.
  • All the data is sent in encrypted form in HTTPS just like your WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted.
  • HTTP does not need any certificate.
  • HTTPS needs an SSL certificate. 
  • HTTP is stateless but not sessionless.
  • It is stateless.
  • It is not trustworthy.
  • HTTPS is trustworthy.
  • HTTP does not help in improving the page ranking.
  • HTTPS does help in improving page ranking.
  • HTTP can be easily cracked or hacked.
  • HTTPS cannot be easily hacked at all.
  • HTTP transfers data such as videos, images, and files via web pages.
  • HTTPS sends the data through a network.
  • It does not have access to data hashtags to secure the data.
  • HTTPS does secure the data.


In this blog, we have learned about the HTTP protocol that guides the working of the Internet. We have also learned about the better alternative to the HTTP protocol, that is, the HTTPS protocol.

In the upcoming blogs, we will learn more about Internet protocols.

Stay tuned for the upcoming blog of our CCNA 200-301 series. 

Happy studying!


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