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We often encounter the HTTPS protocol at the start of a website address while browsing the Internet. It’s a communication channel over the Internet that seems to be more secure than other protocols like HTTP. But what exactly is the HTTPS protocol? How is it different? What ports does it use? How does it work? And why does the padlock icon appear on Chrome's address bar when clicking on a website using an HTTPS port?
If you are confused by all these questions, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. This article will explain what default HTTPS ports are and why they are important. Whether you want to launch your website or protect your online data and privacy, having information about HTTPS ports will help.
So let’s dive in without further ado.
What is HTTPS port? [Default HTTPS port number]
It stands for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure." HTTPS ports encrypt connections using SSL or TLS to provide an extra layer of security when accessing a site. Each HTTPS port has its own unique number that distinguishes it from the others.
Default HTTPS Port 443 or 8443 are used for HTTPS connections that protect web browser communication. For instance, when you access an HTTPS website, it sends a request to its hosting server for special services using network port 443 or 8443. Then the server connects to the requested port, which is encrypted in the case of HTTPS, to send the service to the website.
As a result, people who use web hosting servers can send and receive data over the Internet without any security concerns.
How HTTPS encrypts data during transmission over a network?
HTTPS uses SSL or TLS certificates to encrypt and protect data transmission. SSL and TLS work the same way, and many use these terms interchangeably.
However, TLS is the updated and more advanced version of SSL. Nowadays, more and more HTTPS websites are improving their protocol to the TLS version, which is more secure than SSL.
What is the difference between the HTTPS and SSL/TLS protocols?
Now that you understand the difference between TLS and SSL let’s see how HTTPS ports and SSL/TLS operate to establish a secure connection.
Websites run on HTTPS protocol, while HTTPS runs over an SSL/TLS certificate. It is installed on a web hosting server to provide a secure and encrypted connection between a website and a web browser. The SSL protocol authenticates users' identities whenever they want to transmit information. Then HTTPS provides the channel to transfer that information to the server.
HTTPS vs HTTP: Difference you should know
Websites that use SSL certificates run on HTTPS, while sites with no SSL or TLS run over an HTTP port. The HTTPS protocol determines that data transmitted over the channel is encrypted and impossible to read, while websites using the HTTP protocol send and receive data in plain text.
Be careful when sending sensitive data, like credit card details, personal information, login credentials, etc., online. Ensure a website uses the HTTPS protocol to encrypt data and validate its identity. That way, you can be sure that your data is not at risk.
However, URLs preceded by the HTTP protocol are unsafe and may use your data for other purposes.
Distinguish between the HTTP and HTTPS Protocols
To make sure a website is using an SSL/TLS certificate, you have two main ways:
- Read the URL before clicking on a website link in the browser. If the URL starts with HTTPS protocol, your data will be safe.
- Look for the padlock icon preceding the website’s domain name in the search bar after visiting it. You can see the site’s information and connection details by clicking on the padlock.
Difference between default HTTPS port 443 and 8443
As mentioned, ports are used for different services and are distinguished by numbers. 443 and 8443 are the most commonly used HTTPS ports. But how are they different? The obvious answer is the added number 8 to 443!
However, the real difference is more complicated than that. Let’s see what each port stands for and how they operate.
What is port number 443?
TCP local port 443 is the default number used for the HTTPS protocol. It’s the primary port that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) recognises for the HTTPS protocol. Before data is transmitted over the Internet, port 443 uses an SSL/TLS certificate to change plain text into an algorithm. In other words, this browser-dedicated port encrypts data by converting it to an algorithm. Then, port 443 converts the algorithm to the ciphertext to send them to the server to prevent any possible privacy leak.
That way, port 443 provides a secure channel for the browser and server to communicate and transfer data.
What is port number 8443?
The Apache Tomcat server uses port 8443 as an alternative to the HTTPS protocol. Port 8443 lets the web server open the SSL/TLS text service. The main difference between ports 443 and 8443 is how each encrypts data.
Port 8443 creates a pair of keys for each individual using the browser. Then hide it within the web browser to authenticate the user and provide a secure communication channel.
Other HTTPS ports
However, many other HTTPS port numbers are available that provide similar services. You can check the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) list of registries. Here are a few of them:
- 832: NETCONF for SOAP over HTTPS
- 5989: WBEM CIM-XML (HTTPS)
- 8243: Synapse Non-Blocking HTTPS
- 16993: Intel(R) AMT SOAP/HTTPS
- 20003: Commtact HTTPS
Why should I use HTTPS protocol for my website?
If you are a website owner, you may wonder whether switching to an HTTPS protocol is a good idea. We recommend you do it as quickly as possible; we have good reasons for it.
From the start, it gains users' trust. Even if your clients don’t know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, the padlock icon or the security warning browsers use can make them leave your website for good. Nowadays, nothing is more important than online security. Therefore, if you want your site visitors to come back again, providing a secure connection is the least you can do.
Furthermore, using an HTTPS protocol has many benefits, including:
- HTTPS protects your users’ data and your website’s data. It provides a strongly encrypted channel so requests can be sent and received over the network.
- It also has a significant effect on SEO. Google officially announced that using the HTTPS protocol will improve sites’ rank on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). Currently, more than 94% of websites use HTTPS, which leaves you almost no chance to compete in ranking using an insecure protocol.
- Running an eCommerce website is impossible without an SSL or TLS certificate. PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) requires all websites using online payment services to run on the HTTPS protocol. Otherwise, they don’t meet the minimum standards.
Is port 8080 HTTP or HTTPS?
HTTPS protocol transfers encrypted data to port 443. On the other hand, as HTTP transfer data as plain text, port 80 or 8080 can receive them on the web server.
The port number identifies each protocol and allows more organized communication. As a result, port number 8080 is only recognizable for HTTP protocol.
Is HTTPS TLS or TCP?
One of the most confusing terms regarding how HTTPS works is TLS and TCP. You are familiar with TCP port 443, which HTTPS uses to transfer data to the web server. On the other hand, TLS is the improved version of SSL. It adds an extra layer of security to the TCP port to send and receive data.
In other words, HTTPS runs over TLS to encrypt data before sending them through TCP port number 443.
Is HTTPS protocol 100% secure?
Well, having 100% security online is almost impossible in the real world. Even the most secure platforms can get hacked, and HTTPS is no exception. Although it offers higher security than its counterparts, such as HTTP, expert cyber attackers can still access data transferred through port 443.
The HTTPS protocol provides a secure network between a web browser and a web hosting server to communicate and transfer data. It uses SSL/TLS certificates to encrypt users’ sensitive data. We've covered everything you need to know about the default HTTPS port number and why it's important for data transmission.
On the contrary, the HTTP protocol transfers data in plain text and exposes data to anyone accessing the channel. That’s why you should ensure the site you use runs over HTTPS ports like 443 or 8443 before sharing your information, credit card details, or other online credentials.
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