HTTP, short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is the backbone of any data exchange on the Web, and it’s a protocol used for transmitting hypertext over the internet. It defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.
Built upon the client-server communication model, HTTP is a stateless protocol, meaning each command is executed independently, without any knowledge of the commands that came before it. This is crucial for the fast, reliable transmission of data packets across the internet.
HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web. Whenever you enter a URL into your browser, this actually sends an HTTP command to the Web server directing it to fetch and transmit the requested webpage. The other main standard that controls how the World Wide Web works is HTML, which covers how Web pages are formatted and displayed.
HTTP can deliver virtually any kind of data, from HTML documents to images and video content, to query results from a database. It’s the protocol that enables us to interact with the Web in the way we are familiar with, and it’s an essential technology for any web developer to understand and use.