Here, we explain in detail how to send password securely over HTTP. Before we get there, we go over some of the basics regarding HTTP such as how it works, what is its role, and how and why it is used. In the simplest terms, HTTP which stands for the Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the foundation of data World Wide Web data communication and data exchange. HTTP is a client-server, application protocol for all sorts of hypermedia, collaborative, and distributed data systems.
Since it is a client-server protocol, all HTTP requests must be initiated by the web browser or by the recipient. Servers and clients over HTTP communicate securely by exchanging messages and messages sent by web browsers or clients are known as requests while messages that are sent by serves are called responses. Essentially, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol allows us to communicate all sorts of data and information on the WWW.
How Does HTTP Work?
Tim Berners-Lee initiated the development of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol back in 1989. In November that same year, the very first communication between a server and an HTTP client over the internet was conducted. Before we explain how to send password securely over HTTP, it should be noted that the Hypertext Transfer Protocol remains one of the most used means of surfing the Internet even though it was introduced over thirty years ago.
Alongside HTML, HTTP was invented to pave the route for text-based, interactive web browsers. Since this is a request-response application protocol, it gives internet users ways to interact and communicate with numerous web resources by transferring hypertext messages between serves and clients. Hypertext documents also include hyperlinks that lead to other resources and these are easily accessed by internet users.
To perform tasks, the Hyperlink Transfer Protocol relies on certain request methods. Today, HTTP servers rely on the GET and HEAD methods even though they are many other methods available. Before you learn how to send password securely over HTTP, you should familiarize yourself with the major component of client-server protocols. In such systems that rely on HTTP, requests are always sent by the user-agent and in most cases, this is a web browser.
When a request has been sent, it reaches a serve and the server handles the request to provide a response or an answer. Between these two entities (client and server) there are other entities called proxies and the proxies act as caches and gateways as they perform requested operations. Between the server that provides answers and web browsers that send requests, there are modems and routers. However, these are well-hidden thanks to the World Wide Web’s layered design. What is on top of the network is the Hypertext Transfer Protocol application.
The Differences Between the HTTPS and HTTP
Over the years, the foundation of the World Wide Web has evolved. Today, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol is usually sent over a TLS (Transport Layer Security) and TCP encrypted connection while other transport protocols can be used as well. Since HTTP is extremely extensible, it is widely used for hypertext documents as well as videos, images. Then, there is HTTPS that stands for the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and this is the major extension of HTTP.
Visually, these two are very similar but there are some major differences and knowing these differences is crucial in order to maintain efficient, secure sites that genuinely protect data. Unlike HTTP, HTTPS implements data encryption technologies. In this sense, HTTPS is more secure as HTTP Is the most basic layer protocol. Some other differences between the two:
- HTTPS relies on TLS encryption while HTTP relies on the application layer protocol
- HTTPS requires SSL certificates while HTTP does not require such certificates
- TCP port 4433 used by HTTPS, while TCP port 80 used by HTTP
- HTTPS required domain validation while this is not required by HTTP
How to Send Password Securely Over HTTP?
Considering HTTPS is more secure than HTTP, no wonder why many users of the internet wonder how to send password securely over HTTP. As mentioned in the previous section, HTTPS relies on the Transport Layer Security encryption technology and this does not have to be the case with HTTP. Besides, HTTPS works with SSL to transfer the data securely. So, how to send password securely over HTTP?
HTTPS is the major solution here and this is the reason why it was invented in the first place. Nonetheless, there are ways to send password or other confidential data over HTTP, and to get there, you first need to secure your password before you send it over HTTP. In other words, you need to encrypt it or hash it before the confidential data you want to send reaches the network.
How to Send Passwords Securely Over HTTP Using Encryption?
If you do not turn to encryption protocols, you cannot securely send passwords or any other data over HTTP and this is why the vast majority of websites out there rely on HTTPS instead. The main reason why HTTPS was invented was to enable secure, encrypted communication that HTTP cannot provide, not without TLS, SSL, or some other encryption protocols.
In order to learn how to send password securely over HTTP, you need to familiarize yourself with RSA encryption algorithms. Standing for Rivest-Shamir-Adleman, RSA is a widely used algorithm for encrypting and decrypting messages. Since it is an asymmetric protocol, it relies on two keys including private and public keys that enable secure, encrypted communication. To send password securely over HTTP, you should turn to RSA.
How to send password securely over HTTP using some other option? In addition to RSA, you can also use PGP or Pretty Good Privacy. PGP is another widely used encryption technology for sending and receiving passwords, emails, and other confidential, sensitive data. While it is most commonly used in email communication, with PGP you can encrypt your passwords, before you send them over HTTP. The bottom line, to send passwords securely over HTTP, you need to add extra layers of protection in the form of encryption.