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Vijith Menon
The internet is a vast pool of information without any safety nets. There are 2 standard protocols enforced to guarantee safety - HTTP and HTTPS. What's it about? For a better understanding, we provide a comparison between HTTP and HTTPS.

Did You Know?

Gmail is one of the first websites to offer https by default in the Chrome browser.
The internet is a vast place with plenty of websites offering to satiate your desires. Whether it is pursuing a hobby or online shopping, it promises to fulfill all your needs.
The question arises in the end as to how do we know that our conversations or transactions are safe from prying eyes? With the recent news of Edward Snowden revealing sensitive information and the aforementioned information readily available on a website - trust and privacy seems to have taken a hit.
While many sites address this issue by authenticating two-step logins and using captcha to let people view information on their site, many pranksters create dummy websites with the same domain name and use it to trick people into revealing sensitive information. This is known as phishing. In the following HTTP Vs. HTTPS comparison, we give you a brief overview of two standard protocols that are practiced over the Internet and the difference between them.


HTTP stands for 'Hypertext Transfer Protocol'. It is an application layer protocol that focuses on the transfer of data between the client and server. It is identified and located by a unique resource identifier or uniform resource locator (URL), now known as a web address. It loads the website within seconds.
HTTPS stands for 'Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure'. It is a communications layer protocol that encrypts the data sent between the client and server. The client is the browser (or user), while the server contains the location of the website. It attempts to provide authentication of the website, and can be recognized by a green lock symbol in the address bar.
In addition to the HTTP, it has an additional security layer known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
Users can access the website if the browser receives a validation certificate from the website verifying its trust and security. A further exchange of public keys and private keys are exchanged between the client and server, which is also known as an SSL handshake. The successful exchange leads to the loading of the website, or it will display an error message.

Status Codes

HTTP has status codes that have 3 digits, which are sorted into 5 groups, namely 1XX that are used for experimental purposes, 2XX that signify the request was received successfully, 3XX that redirects the site to its new address, 4XX used to signify client errors, and 5XX that signifies an error on the server.

Since HTTPS is a more secure form of HTTP, it displays the same status codes.


HTTP pages load faster than its counterpart, probably due to not having an additional SSL layer to worry about.

HTTPS pages load slower than HTTP, by validating the authentication of the website. But the speed may be affected by a lot of factors, like session length, whether it's a static or dynamic website, and the server software.


HTTP doesn't offer any encryption.

HTTPS encrypts information at every step of the communication process between the user and the website.

Port Number

For 2 computers to talk over the server, there are 2 prerequisites: a port number and an IP address. A port number lets you connect to the website directly or the server it operates through.

HTTP uses port number 80 to let users connect to the particular address using the HTTP protocol.

HTTPS uses port number 443 to let users communicate or send data safely.
From the above points, one can understand that HTTP has an advantage over HTTPS in terms of speed, which also affects the performance of the site, since nobody wants slower loading pages.
The biggest disadvantage of HTTPS is that the certificates needed to verify the trust of a website come at an annual charge of $995, and the server cost that skyrockets because of the need to encrypt information passing through it.
All in all, HTTPS is a much secure way to surf the net, and is used for online transactions as well as by email providers to communicate safely.