HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) is a standard set of rules that defines how information is transferred on the World Wide Web. It is the foundation of internet communication, as it allows client-server communication on the web by establishing connection and transferring messages between computers.
HTTP was first developed in 1989 by the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, while working at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). The first version of HTTP, version 0.9, was released on the public networks in 1991. Since then, several versions of this protocol have been released to the public, with the latest version, HTTP 2.0, released in 2015.
The purpose of HTTP is to define the way web browsers (clients) and web servers interact. When a user types in a web address or clicks on a hyperlink, an HTTP request, is sent from the client to the server. The server then processes the request and returns the appropriate content (e.g., webpage, image, video, etc). The content is formatted using HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), another protocol used to display information on the web.
HTTP is commonly used to transfer data such as HTML documents, images, videos, audio, text and other media on the web. Depending on the request, the server can respond with the resource or initiate a redirection to a different web address. This protocol is also used to track cookies and authenticate user sessions when accessing secure information (e.g., website passwords).
HTTP is an important component of the Internet as it allows users to access and interact with remote systems. Without HTTP, the web as we know it would not exist.