You may have seen https:// before a domain address in the browser’s URL bar when using the Internet. But, have you ever wondered what HTTPS is and what the full form of HTTPS is.
In this article, we have explained what is HTTPS, what is HTTPS full form, its working, characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.
What You Will Learn
What is the full form of HTTPS?
HTTPS is an abbreviation for ‘HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure’. It is an encrypted version of HTTP. HTTPS uses a combination of Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) that helps establish a secure encrypted connection between the host server and the browser.
The full form of HTTPS can be explained as:
Note: It is important to note that ‘hypertext’ is a single word.
Let’s talk about what an HTTPS is:
What is HTTPS?
Just like the HTTP, HTTPS is also a networking protocol used for collaborative, distributed, hypermedia information systems. However, it is secure when compared to HTTP, which is a non-secure application protocol. HTTPS is not actually the opposite of HTTP. Instead, it is a combination of the HTTP with the TLS/SSL protocols that help establish encrypted communication and secure identification of a network web server.
What is Hypertext?
Hypertext is a specific type of text that contains a link. This means that if we click on a word or text on a webpage that has a link with it, we will be redirected to a new web page based on the specified link.
How does HTTPS work?
When we enter https:// in the browser’s URL bar before the domain name, it instructs the browser to connect over HTTPS. In this case, the browser generates a GET request and transfers it across the web. Once the target server receives this request, it generates an HTTPS response back to the user’s browser. If the connection is established properly, a web page will be retrieved from the server and displayed on the browser. Otherwise, there will be an HTTPS status code describing the corresponding errors.
In HTTPS, transactions are carried out with the help of a key-based encryption algorithm. The public key infrastructure (PKI) is used because it is supported by most web browsers, while the private key is used by the webserver of the particular website the user wants to access. The distribution of public keys is done through certificates that are maintained by web browsers.
When a client (often a user’s browser) starts a connection with a host server, the two devices use the public and private key to agree on new keys, known as session keys, to encrypt further communications between them. Encryption keys are exchanged between the host server and the web browser before the actual data or hypertext.
Is HTTPS secure?
Yes, HTTPS is a secured application protocol. Just like HTTP, HTTPS is also used to request web data and display it on the web browser. But, HTTPS has a slightly different working process. Unlike HTTP, HTTPS encrypts requests and responses so an intercepting hacker would not see the actual text a user has entered. Instead, the hacker will see random characters and would not be able to understand it due to the encryption.
Characteristics of HTTPS
Some of the main characteristics of HTTP are given below:
• It uses powerful public-key cryptography that helps encrypt the connection between a client and a server.
• HTTPS encrypts all message substance, including HTTP headers and request/response data. The verification perspective of HTTPS requires a trusted third party to sign server-side digital certificates.
• Only the client and the server know what is being transferred or communicated.
• HTTPS uses an SSL certificate that helps in gaining SEO (Search Engine Optimization) benefits from Google and other search engines.
Advantages of HTTPS
Some of the main advantages of HTTP are given below:
• HTTPS helps secure user’s data-in-transit.
• It builds user-trust as there will be no ‘Not Secure’ warning in the browser.
• It helps boost SERP (Search Engine Result Page) rankings.
• It secures the website from various attacks, such as Phishing, MITM, and many others.
Disadvantages of HTTPS
Some of the main disadvantages of HTTP are given below:
• HTTPS is comparatively slower as it takes a little bit of time during encryption.
• Because of the encryption process, HTTPS includes extra overhead during data transfer.
• You have to pay for an SSL certificate to use HTTPS.
• It can cause browser caching issues for legacy browsers (e.g., IE6).
It is a good idea to build a website over HTTPS or move from HTTP to HTTPS. Previously, HTTPS was mostly used by websites that have online payment gateway support. This helped secure confidential details of users such as credit card details and other personal information. But, after Google recommended sites to use HTTPS to achieve better search engine rankings, most sites switched to HTTPS. Nowadays, almost every website uses HTTPS.