http:// in a nutshell
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This is a simple and quick explanation of what the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is and does. If you need just a little more information than what fits into a nutshell you can read the next page http:// for dummies. Nevertheless, this document http:// in a nutshell lets you almost talk like a pro because there is not much you need to know.
First: The Abbreviation
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. The three words are explained next.
Second: The protocol
The P defines HTTP as a protocol. A protocol can be explained as a standard, a convention, a definition, a set of rules or whatever works for you in this regard. The protocol helps multiple parties understand how they have to implement or work with the process defined in the protocol. This protocol is just a small part of a larger collection of protocols commonly known as the Network Protocols.
Third: The Transfer
The protocol defines how a document (webpage) is transfered in a network between computer systems. It begins with the initial contact (open a session), request/send/receive the document and finally ending the connection (close the session). We can also note here that HTTP is known as a stateless protocol. By definition there is no state linking pages (stateful) on a protocol level.
Although there are other things (like cookies, style sheets, scripts, images, graphics, video etc.) HTTP is primarly about a webpage as a document which is a collection of text, also known and refered to as the content. The text has links to other documents which is also: more text. Hyper means over or beyond and therefore, the links in a webpage are not just links to another webpage they are links over or beyond to more text. The Internet is not only a huge collection of webpages it is a huge collection of hypertext.
HTTP in a nutshell: It is the convention how hypertext gets transferred in a network.