Acronym Monday: HTTP

What does HTTP mean in plain English?

By: Erich Maas

Proposal Coordinator

Today’s Acronym Monday is brought to you by the acronym HTTP.

Last week we looked at HTML or HyperText Markup Language. Today we’re going to talk about another hypertext acronym, HTTP, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol.


Wait, I think I've seen HTTP before...

You’ll likely recognize "http" from your web address bar. You’ll see it in front of almost all the web pages you visit. If you’ve ever wondered what it means, this article is for you. Last week, we defined hypertext most basically as “text that links to other text.” It allows you to instantly see the linked information just by clicking. The HyperText Transfer Protocol is an internet protocol that makes the concept of hypertext work on the internet. Without it, you couldn’t jump from page to page and website to website like you do now.

Everything on the internet lives on servers. The HyperText Transfer Protocol is the way your browser communicates with these servers so when you click on a link, you are taken to the right destination.


What about HTTPS?

You've probably seen web addresses that begin with “https” also. You should even be able to see an example in the web address for this article. It brings added security to the HyperText Transfer Protocol and stands for HTTP over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). It was created to help keep your information safe when browsing a website. Secure Sockets Layer creates an encrypted link between you and the web server. It ensures your information stays private.

If a website is asking you to input personal information like credit card or banking information, it’s always a good idea to look up at the address bar and make sure the address says “https” at the beginning. If it just says “http,” you are vulnerable to particular attacks in which ne'er-do-wells intercept your personal information when you’re shopping or entering passwords. Cyber attacks can be really devastating things, so you want to avoid them whenever you can.

Checking for HTTPS is one more easy way to help keep your information safe!

Learn more about HTTPS and how it impacts security in this informational article: Web Standards - An In-Depth Look at IPv6 and HTTPS

If your interested in different configuration options of HTTP Security Headers, check out this article: A Primer on Secure HTTP Headers


If you found this article interesting and want to learn more about staying secure on the web or other web acronyms check out our blog archive for more informational articles as well as a complete collection of our Acronym Monday articles. 


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