Hypertext transfer protocol can be considered one of the most important foundations of the World Wide Web. Hypertext transfer protocol, also known as HTTP, is used to load web pages. This protocol essentially defines how messages are formatted and transmitted.
How does hypertext transfer protocol work? When you enter a URL into a web browser, a hypertext tranfer protocol command is sent to the web server. From here, the web server fetches and transmits the requested page. Hypertext transfer protocol is a stateless protocol, which means that each command requested is executed independently. One command has no knowledge of any commands that happened prior.
There are 8 different request types that can be used by hypertext transfer protocol. They either TCP/IP or UDP protocol. The 8 requests include: GET, which requests the resource from the server; POST, which submits a resource to the server; PUT, which is similar to POST but replaces the resource; DELETE, which deletes a resource from a server; HEAD, which is similar to GET but returns only the header and not the content; OPTIONS, which receives options for the resource; and TRACE, which performs message loop-back.
Hypertext transfer protocol allows for various functions to happen and provide benefits including:
- Addressing: HTTP assigns IP addresses with recognizable names to be familiar on the internet.
- Flexibility: HTTP can download plugins and extensions such as flash players and readers.
- Accessibility: When a page is first loaded, the HTTP pages are stored in caches. When the page is loaded again, it will be a quicker process.
- Latency: When a connection is established, HTTP enables the handshaking process, which reduces latency in the connection.
There are some disadvantages to hypertext transfer protocol including:
- Less security: Since there aren’t encryption methods used with hypertext transfer protocol, is is less secure and therefore allows content to be altered.
- Less data privacy: With an HTTP connection, hackers are more able to intercept requests and gather private information such as passwords, credit card numbers, addresses, etc.
- Not optimized for mobile devices: With so many people using mobile devices to surf the web, this is not an ideal option.
Another important part of hypertext transfer protocol is what are known as status codes. When you’re online browsing different web pages, you may come across various error and other codes. These codes each have their own meaning, which are helpful to know. Some of these status codes include:
- 404 error: This error can also be seen as 404 Not Found, which means the requested page cannot currently be found but may be available in the future.
- 502 error: This error can also be seen as 502 Bad Gateway, which means the server was acting as a gateway, but received an invalid response from the upstream server.
- Status Code 500: Internal Server Error, which means there isn’t a problem with the web page, but with the server.
Hypertext transfer protocol is commonly used and important to become knowledgeable about.