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http://  is what always needs to sit at the front of a web address. If you want to get into a site or insert a link, that’s the way it has to look. Browsers and apps will often make it easier for you by adding this bit in, but no matter who puts it there, it’s essential. Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1990 when he came up with HTTP ( HyperText Transfer Protocol), and it’s the protocol that the whole web rests on.

When you tap in a web address into your web browser, what you’re actually doing is sending an HTTP request to the Web server for data from that site. The protocol’s main job is to transmit hypertext data. HTTP uses the client-server model (typically via web browser) by forwarding requests to a server that then sends the content from the requested website. Alternatively, it sends an error message if the page can’t be found. When software needs to access Internet content it makes use of the HTTP protocol.

One of the things to remember about HTTP is that it’s a stateless protocol, meaning that it doesn’t save session information or details about whoever has participated in the communication, so every request that goes to the server gets treated separately. However, there are applications which can gather information about subsequent requests, allowing them to track user activity. Cookies, HTTP sessions, JavaScript and others are examples of apps with tracking capabilities. HTTPS (or HTTP Secure) is the most popular way of securing an HTTP connection, and it uses the SSL or TLS encrypting protocols.