What Is HTTPs? Understanding Secure Data Communication

What Is HTTPs | How Is It Different From HTTP
Find out why HTTPs is crucial for protecting data. How HTTPs encrypts data to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information.

All data transferred between web browsers and websites uses a protocol to ensure its safety. This protocol is hypertext transfer protocol secure, or HTTPs, as it is commonly known. HTTPs is encrypted, ensuring the sensitive data transmitted by websites is secure. For this reason, HTTPs is used for all activities that require sensitive data, such as shopping and banking transactions.

Another way to explain it is that HTTPs is the secure version of HTTP. HTTPs uses secure sockets layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS) to authenticate and encrypt data. Also, instead of using port 80, HTTPs uses port 443 by default. Ports are like doors; instead of using the same door as everyone else, HTTPs uses a different one to increase security.

Why is HTTPs Important?

Hackers are always snooping on the internet to find insecure data and exploit it. Every time data is transferred, it travels in small packets. Hackers can sniff these packets using software. For this reason, it is always recommended not to use public Wi-Fi. All data transferred over HTTP is unsafe as it is transferred in plain text, which makes it the easiest target for hackers who can access it using various tools.

HTTPs encrypts all the data sent between the clients and the websites, ensuring the safety of any data transmitted. It uses nonsensical texts instead of plain texts to change the meaning of data and make it incomprehensible.

What could ordinarily look like this: You can easily read this.

Looks like this under HTTPs: ITM0IRyiEhVpa6VnKyExMiEgNveroyWBPlgGyfkflYjDaaFf/Kn3bo3OfghBPDWo6AfSHlNtL8N7ITEwIXc1gU5X73xMsJormzzXlwOyrCs+9XCPk63Y+z0=

What happens with this type of encryption is that if the Internet Service Provider (ISP) or any hackers try to add some content to the data, it fails. Data transferred through HTTP is easily accessible to internal service providers, who can inject advertisements into the data to generate revenue. The worst part is that website owners do not make any profit from advertising. That is why HTTPs is better, as it makes sure no advertisement gets injected into the web content.

How Does HTTPs Work?

To understand how HTTPs works, take the example of uncovered desserts. When the desserts are uncovered, they are highly likely to get contaminated by dust, flies, or other particles in the air. To keep desserts hygienic for consumption, we keep them covered. Similarly, HTTPs encrypts HTTP by wrapping it inside the SSL/TLS protocol, meaning the data being transferred between two computers stays protected. The hackers can still see the IP addresses, port numbers, and domain names. However, they cannot access the actual data being transferred, including:

  • Website content
  • Cookies
  • Headers
  • Request URL

HTTPs uses SSL and TLS protocols to ensure that the websites we visit are authentic. This is done by assigning a key pair to each entity. These key pairs contain one private and one public key. Anyone can use the public key, but the private key remains with that entity. Anyone with that public key can do two main things:

  1. Send a message to the website or person that has the private key. Only they can read the message.
  2. See if a message was digitally signed by the private key that matches the public key.

Additionally, to be sure that the website you are visiting is authentic HTTPs, check if a well-known certificate authority like SSL.com provides the certificate of authenticity. This way, you can trust that a third party has validated the website.

What is the Secure Port for HTTPs?

Due to increasing cybercrime, internet users need to be safe online and ensure that the data that has been transferred is completely encrypted. Data encryption was not possible with HTTP because it uses the most widely used port 80. This port transmits data through an unprotected network, and it transfers the data in plain text. However, the main task of HTTPs is to secure HTTP data using a more secure port, port 443. Port 443 ensures encrypted communication between the server and the website. With port 443, users do not have to worry about their data getting ‘sniffed’ online.

Are HTTP and HTTPs the Same?

In a technical sense, HTTPs and HTTP are identical protocols. However, HTTPs encrypts HTTP communication using TLS/SSL. The transmission of TLS/SSL certificates, which certify that a particular provider is who they claim to be, is the foundation of HTTPs.

Upon connection, a webpage will offer the user its SSL certificate, which includes the public key required to establish a secure session. Next, to establish a secure connection, the client and server computers exchange a sequence of back-and-forth messages known as an SSL/TLS handshake.

Moreover, HTTPs provides encryption, integrity, and authentication to the HTTP protocol:

  1. Authentication: The SSL/TLS certificate given to the website provides a key pair: private and public keys. The public key lets you send messages to a particular website with the pair’s second private key. The browser first verifies that a trustworthy certificate authority signs the server’s certificate; only then can you proceed to the website; otherwise, a not-secure website notification pops up. HTTPs uses this robust authentication, while HTTP has no prerequisite.
  2. Encryption: Because HTTP was initially built as a clear text protocol, it is susceptible to eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks. HTTPs, which includes SSL/TLS encryption, protects data transferred over the internet from being intercepted and read by third parties. Through public-key cryptography and the SSL/TLS handshake, an encrypted communication session can be safely established between two parties that have never met in person by creating a shared secret key.
  3. Integrity: The HTTPs server sends a digital signature with the data to maintain its integrity. The browser can use these signatures to determine the integrity. What happens is that the server first calculates a cryptographic hash of the document with its digital certificate. The browser then calculates independently to ensure its integrity.

HTTPs has become a far safer protocol than HTTP for internet browsing and business transactions due to these assurances of integrity, authentication, and encryption.


You must know how essential HTTPs is for safeguarding your online data. The encryption method used by HTTPs encrypts the information exchanged between your browser and the website you visit. This encryption acts as a barrier preventing hackers from stealing your data. With the adoption of HTTPs, one can enjoy safe transactions and privacy online. HTTPs also creates an online environment that is safer and more trustworthy for users.

    About Author
    Jason Gray

    Jason heads the marketing efforts at OysterVPN.

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