Hyper­text Trans­fer Pro­to­col

Glossary term descrip­tion
  • Also known as
  • HTTP

The Hyper­text Trans­fer Pro­to­col (HTTP ) is the pri­mary method to trans­fer infor­ma­tion between a client (such as a web browser) and a web server across the Inter­net.

Infor­ma­tion is usu­ally exchanged in the form of Hyper­text doc­u­ments, from which HTTP gets its name. Hyper­text is struc­tured text using the Hyper­text Markup Lan­guage (HTML). Besides text, it can con­tain hyper­links, images, videos, and other appli­ca­tion data that makes up web­pages.

HTTP fol­lows a state­less request-response par­a­digm in which the client makes a request and the server issues a response. HTTP resources such as web servers are iden­ti­fied across the Inter­net using unique iden­ti­fiers known as Uni­form Resource Loca­tors (URLs).

When request­ing a web­page, for exam­ple by typ­ing an URL into a web browser or click­ing a hyper­link in another web­page, the request and also the response sent by the web server might pass through many inter­me­di­ate routers and proxy servers.

As HTTP is an appli­ca­tion layer pro­to­col, it relies on an under­ly­ing net­work-level pro­to­col such as Trans­mis­sion Con­trol Pro­to­col (TCP) to func­tion.