eMudhra Blog HTTP vs HTTPS

HTTP vs HTTPS: What's the Difference?

By eMudhra Editorial on June 16, 2023
HTTP vs HTTPS: What's the Difference?

Online security is of paramount concern for both individuals and organizations. As we navigate the vast landscape of the internet, understanding the fundamental distinction between two commonly used protocols, HTTP and HTTPS, is crucial. In this blog, we will delve into the intricacies of these two protocols, highlighting their significance and the benefits of adopting HTTPS in a corporate context.

Understanding Web Security Before delving into the particulars of HTTP and HTTPS protocols, let's briefly discuss the need driving the evolution of such protocols. The key driver of this technological advancement is web security. But what exactly is web security?

Suppose you're accessing a website. As you proceed with browsing, you transmit your data to the server of that particular site. This data may encompass details such as your IP address, browser details, and the specific pages you're browsing on the site. Importantly, this data is transmitted in a clear and understandable format, which means anyone monitoring your network traffic can easily view it.

When using a public Wi-Fi network, it becomes possible for someone else connected to the same network to intercept this information. That's precisely why employing a secure connection through HTTP and HTTPS protocols when transmitting sensitive data, like credit card numbers or passwords, is so crucial.

What is HTTP?

HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is the foundation of data communication on the World Wide Web. It enables the transfer of information between a web browser and a web server. When you enter a website's URL into your browser, it initiates an HTTP request to retrieve the desired web page.

HTTP allows for the exchange of various types of data, including hypertext documents, images, videos, and other media resources. It operates on a client-server model, where a client initiates a request to a server, and the server responds with the requested data.

HTTP follows a stateless approach, meaning each request is treated independently without retaining any information about previous interactions. Through standardized methods such as GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, and others, HTTP facilitates the retrieval, submission, modification, and removal of resources on the web. This protocol plays a fundamental role in enabling seamless browsing and efficient communication of information across the World Wide Web.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is an enhanced and secure version of HTTP. It employs an additional layer of encryption to protect sensitive data transmitted between a user's browser and a website's server. This encryption is achieved using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols, which establish an encrypted connection and ensure that data remains confidential and tamper-proof.

The primary objective of HTTPS is to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the data exchanged between the client and the server. This is achieved through the use of cryptographic algorithms that encrypt the transmitted data, making it unreadable to unauthorized entities. Furthermore, HTTPS leverages digital certificates, issued by trusted certification authorities like eMudhra, to verify the server's identity and establish a trusted connection.

HTTPS is particularly crucial when sensitive information, such as login credentials, financial transactions, or personal data, is being transmitted. By employing robust encryption mechanisms, HTTPS mitigates the risks associated with man-in-middle attacks, data tampering, and impersonation. This enhanced security ensures that sensitive data remains private and unaltered during transit, bolstering user trust and safeguarding the integrity of online communication channels.

Difference between HTTP and HTTPS

Having discussed the primary underlying principles of HTTP and HTTPS, let's summarise the key differentiators.

1. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol 1. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure
2. HTTP sends data in plain text 2. HTTPS encrypts data using SSL/TLS protocols
3. HTTP operates over port 80 by default 3. HTTPS operates over port 443
4. No encryption is applied to the data transmitted through HTTP 4. HTTPS employs encryption to secure data transmission
5. HTTP does not verify the identity of the server 5. HTTPS verifies the server's identity using digital certificates
6. HTTP is typically used for general website browsing 6. HTTPS is preferred for transmitting sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card details
7. HTTP is less resource-intensive 7. HTTPS is slightly more so due to encryption and decryption processes
8. HTTP URLs begin with "http://" 8. HTTPS URLs begin with "https://"

What is SSL Certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a crucial digital security credential that provides encryption and authentication for websites. The implementation of HTTPS on a website necessitates the possession of a valid SSL certificate. When a website has an SSL certificate, it establishes a secure connection between the user's browser and the web server, safeguarding the data from unauthorized access or interception. This certificate encrypts data during transmission between your computer and the hosting server. Comprising both a public key and a private key, it employs the former for encryption while the latter decrypts the information.

The issuance of SSL certificates is carried out by esteemed entities known as Certificate Authorities (CAs), like eMudhra's emSign in this case. CAs undertake the task of meticulously verifying a website's identity before granting it a certificate. Consequently, when a user accesses a website, their browser diligently examines the legitimacy of the site's SSL certificate. A reassuring indication of a valid certificate is the presence of a green padlock icon in the address bar, while an absence thereof would prompt the display of a warning message. The SSL certificate, therefore, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the security and authenticity of online interactions.

What is TLS Certificate?

TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificates are successors to SSL certificates and offer enhanced security for online communications. TLS provides encryption and authentication of data transmitted between servers, ensuring privacy and integrity. It protects against eavesdropping, tampering, and data breaches. Although SSL and TLS are frequently used interchangeably, TLS offers enhanced security and utilizes more resilient encryption algorithms compared to SSL.

Why are SSL/TLS Certificates important?

Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security is abbreviated as SSL/TLS. It is a protocol or communication guideline that enables secure online communication between computer systems. Web browsers can detect websites that use the SSL/TLS protocol and create secure network connections to them with the use of SSL/TLS certificates.

SSL/ TLS handshake

The TLS/SSL handshake is a critical process for establishing a secure connection between a client and a server. Based on the Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols, it ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the data being transmitted.

During the TLS/SSL handshake, a series of steps take place to initiate and negotiate the secure connection. First, the client sends a "ClientHello" message to the server, indicating its supported encryption algorithms and other parameters. The server responds with a "ServerHello" message, selecting the encryption algorithm and providing its digital certificate, which contains its public key. The client verifies the validity and authenticity of the certificate before proceeding.

Next, a symmetric session key is generated, known only to the client and server, to encrypt and decrypt the data. This key is securely exchanged using asymmetric encryption techniques. The handshake process also includes additional steps, such as verifying the server's identity, determining the supported encryption parameters, and agreeing on a shared encryption algorithm.

The TLS/SSL handshake concludes with a "Finished" message, indicating the successful establishment of a secure connection. From this point onwards, the client and server communicate using the agreed-upon encryption algorithm and the shared session key.

Get Exceptional Web Security with eMudhra's SSL/TLS Certificates We understand the importance of trust in digital ecosystems, and we fortify this trust through our global trust services. eMudhra is a globally certified CA, issuing X.509 certificates in both public and private sectors through our emSign root.

We prioritize identity-first security in the digital ecosystem. As part of our identity-first security approach, we issue SSL/TLS certificates, document signer certificates, S/MIME certificates, and Code Signer Certificates. These are part of our high-availability Certificate issuance engine that can help automate the entire Certificate Life Cycle Management of Certificates, from issuance to expiry and renewal for a large volume of IoT devices.

With eMudhra's SSL/TLS certificates, you can establish an unshakeable trust relationship with your users, assuring them that their data is secure and protected. Stay ahead of the ever-evolving threat landscape and choose eMudhra for exceptional web security that goes above and beyond industry standards.

Whether you are a retail consumer, an SME or you are considering starting your own SSL/TLS enterprise by reselling emSign certificates, contact us at www.emsign.com to get started.

Buy SSL/TLS Certificates Online Now

Also Read:

1. SSL/TLS Certificates: Explaining the Entire Ecosystem with Certificate Discovery and Reseller portal

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