What does http stand for?

Hypertext Transfer Protocol also knows as Http refers to the application rules governing the transfer and format of data, requested using computer tools or systems that have interconnected information. Primarily it is used to access resources such as HTML files, image files and query results that are inter-connected in several ways. It was the leading element that led to the development of the World Wide Web.

HTTP exists in two main types HTTP/1.0 and HTTP/ 1.1. The first utilizes a new connection for accessing a document while the other reuses the same connection to access other information for the same page or document. As a result, the second version is considered faster.

The establishment of HTTP has been overseen by the World Wide Web Consortium and Internet Engineering Task Force. With their guidance, standards governing HTTP have been released. The most notable of which was Request for Comments 2616 on HTTP/ 1.1 the most commonly used version of HTTP.

By 1996, with the development of support standards for HTTP/ 1.1 many browser companies like Netscape, Mosaic and Internet Explorer adopted HTTP/1.1 as their version of choice. Thereafter the use of the version grew and culminated with the distribution of the standard in 1997. Subsequently to add value and make the standard more compatible with current trends, HTTP/1.1 was upgraded in 1999.

The processing of request-responses via HTTP is called an HTTP session. In this case the end user, using an application, makes a request via Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). This request gets connected via the protocol to a host port. HTTP server receives this message request and returns a response of its own which contains a status line e.g. “HTTP/1.1 200 OK” and the information requested.

The request and responses have the following structure; an initial line, zero header lines, a blank line and then the body of the message. The request and response have different criteria for each component of the structure. For example for requests the initial line is written in three parts; GET /path/to/file/index.html HTTP1.0. The first component “GET” provides the method of obtaining the information. Others utilized usually in uppercase with the same purpose in mind are “POST” and “HEAD”. The path is usually the URL or URI. For responses, the initial line refers to the status line and has two other parts: the response status code and reason phrase. An example of this is “HTTP/1.0 200 OK” or “HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found”.

HTTP facilitates the processing of requests and responses in client to server communication. It is widely used because it is a reliable means of facilitating this process. The URL and URI http: and https: respectively are used to make data that is being retrieved via Hypertext Transfer Protocol recognizable.

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