HTTP vs HTTPS: How it impacts security?


HTTPS is HTTP with encryption. The sole difference between the 2 protocols is that HTTPS uses TLS (SSL) to encrypt normal HTTP requests and responses. As a result, HTTPS is way secure than HTTP. A website using HTTP usually has “http://” in its URL, while a website that uses HTTPS usually has “https://”.

What is HTTP?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is a protocol – or a prescribed order and syntax for presenting information – used for transferring data over a network. Most information that’s sent over the web, including website content and API calls, uses the HTTP protocol. There are two main sorts of HTTP messages: requests and responses.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s highly advanced and a secure version of HTTP. It uses the port no. 443 for digital communication. It allows secure transactions by encrypting the whole communication with SSL. It’s a mixture of SSL/TLS protocol and HTTP. It ensures to provide encrypted and secure identification of a network server.

It allows to make a secure encrypted connection between the server and the browser. It offers the bi-directional security. This helps you to guard potentially sensitive information from being stolen.

Key Difference

Lacks data encryption security mechanism SSL or TLS Digital Certificates to secure server-client communication
Works at Application Layer Works at Transport Layer
Operates on Port 80 (default) Operates on Port 443 (default)
Transfers data in plain text Transfers cypher (encrypted) data
Comparatively fast Uses computing power to encrypt the communication channel

Advantages of HTTP

  • HTTP can be deployed with other Internet protocols or other networks
  • Pages are saved in computer and internet archives, making them available quickly, platform independent which allows cross-platform porting
  • Requires no Runtime Support Usable Over Firewalls! Global applications are possible
  • Not a Directed Connection; so, no overhead network to establish and maintain session status and details

Advantages of HTTPS

  • Sites operating in HTTPS have a place to switch. Therefore, even if you type in HTTP:/ it will redirect over a secure link to HTTPS
  • This helps the users to implement protected eCommerce transactions, for example online banking. SSL technology protects any users and builds trust
  • The identity of the certificate holder is checked by an impartial authority. And each SSL Certificate includes special, authenticated data about the owner of the certificate.

Limitations of HTTP

  • No privacy as anyone can see the content
  • The validity of data is a big issue because anybody can change the content. HTTP protocol is therefore an unreliable method, because no encryption methods are used.

Limitations of HTTPS

  • HTTPS protocol can’t resist stealing confidential data from browser-cached pages
  • The SSL data can only be encrypted during network transmission. So, the text in the user memory can’t be plain
  • HTTPS will increase organizational overhead computing costs, as well as, network overhead

Types of SSL/TLS certificate used with HTTPS

Domain Validation: It validates whether the one who applies for a certificate is an owner of the domain name. This kind of validation generally takes a couple of minutes up to a couple of hours.

Organization Validation: The Certification Authority not only validates ownership of the domain but identifies owners as well. It means an owner could be asked to produce the private ID proof document to prove their identity.

Extended Validation: Extended validation may be a topmost level of validation. It includes validation of domain ownership, owner identity also as registration proof of business.

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