Home | News | Project page | Download | About | << Back

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the primary method used to convey information on the World Wide Web. The original purpose was to provide a way to publish and receive HTML pages.

Development of HTTP was co-ordinated by the World Wide Web Consortium and working groups of the Internet Engineering Task Force, culminating in the publication of a series of RFCs, most notably RFC 2616, which defines HTTP/1.1, the version of HTTP in common use today.

HTTP is a request/response protocol between clients and servers. An HTTP client, such as a web browser, typically initiates a request by establishing a TCP connection to a particular port on a remote host (port 80 by default; see List of well-known ports (computing)). An HTTP server listening on that port waits for the client to send a request string, such as "GET / HTTP/1.1" (which would request the default page of that web server), followed by an email-like MIME message which has a number of informational header strings that describe aspects of the request, followed by an optional body of arbitrary data. Some headers are optional, while others (such as Host) are required by the HTTP/1.1 protocol. Upon receiving the request, the server sends back a response string, such as "200 OK", and a message of its own, the body of which is perhaps the requested file, an error message, or some other information.

Resources to be accessed by HTTP are identified using Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) (or, more specifically, URLs) using the http: or https: URI schemes.

<< Back