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Hypertext Transfer Protocol

Application protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer protocol in the Internet protocol suite model for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems.[1] HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web, where hypertext documents include hyperlinks to other resources that the user can easily access, for example by a mouse click or by tapping the screen in a web browser.

Quick facts: International standard, Developed by, Introdu...
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
International standard
  • RFC 1945 HTTP/1.0
  • RFC 9110 HTTP Semantics
  • RFC 9111 HTTP Caching
  • RFC 9112 HTTP/1.1
  • RFC 9113 HTTP/2
  • RFC 7541 HTTP/2: HPACK Header Compression
  • RFC 8164 HTTP/2: Opportunistic Security for HTTP/2
  • RFC 8336 HTTP/2: The ORIGIN HTTP/2 Frame
  • RFC 8441 HTTP/2: Bootstrapping WebSockets with HTTP/2
  • RFC 9114 HTTP/3
  • RFC 9204 HTTP/3: QPACK: Field Compression
Developed byinitially CERN; IETF, W3C
Introduced1991; 32 years ago (1991)
Websitehttps://httpwg.org/specs/
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Development of HTTP was initiated by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in 1989 and summarized in a simple document describing the behavior of a client and a server using the first HTTP protocol version that was named 0.9.[2]

That first version of HTTP protocol soon evolved into a more elaborated version that was the first draft toward a far future version 1.0.[3]

Development of early HTTP Requests for Comments (RFCs) started a few years later and it was a coordinated effort by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), with work later moving to the IETF.

HTTP/1 was finalized and fully documented (as version 1.0) in 1996.[4] It evolved (as version 1.1) in 1997 and then its specifications were updated in 1999, 2014, and 2022.[5]

Its secure variant named HTTPS is used by more than 80% of websites.[6]

HTTP/2, published in 2015, provides a more efficient expression of HTTP's semantics "on the wire". It is now used by 41% of websites[7] and supported by almost all web browsers (over 97% of users).[8] It is also supported by major web servers over Transport Layer Security (TLS) using an Application-Layer Protocol Negotiation (ALPN) extension[9] where TLS 1.2 or newer is required.[10][11]

HTTP/3, the successor to HTTP/2, was published in 2022.[12] It is now used by over 25% of websites[13] and is supported by many web browsers (over 75% of users).[14] HTTP/3 uses QUIC instead of TCP for the underlying transport protocol. Like HTTP/2, it does not obsolesce previous major versions of the protocol. Support for HTTP/3 was added to Cloudflare and Google Chrome first,[15][16] and is also enabled in Firefox.[17] HTTP/3 has lower latency for real-world web pages, if enabled on the server, load faster than with HTTP/2, and even faster than HTTP/1.1, in some cases over 3× faster than HTTP/1.1 (which is still commonly only enabled).[18]