What is the HTTPS Port Number?
Do you need a clear idea about the significance of HTTPS ports? Just like a cell phone connects its callers with receivers, HTTPS ports connect hardware and software components to communicate. It is like a virtual gateway that creates a secure network connection between system components. So, do you want to know how HTTPS works? Let’s unravel the purpose of different HTTPS ports through the comprehensive guide!
What Are Networking Ports and What Are They Used For?
Networking ports are software-defined numbers that represent a specific Network Protocol. This port number defines a specific condition about how the network connection will be established for a particular service. These ports are virtual endpoints that facilitate communication between computers. That is why networking ports are essential to maintain seamless data transfer between applications or services on a computer.
Listing here two main most-used networking ports that we will explore further in the article:
• Port 80 for HTTP connections
• 443 Port used for HTTPS connections
So, let’s explore the difference between these two network ports and their purposes for comprehending internet security.
What’s The Difference Between HTTPS Port 443 & HTTP Port 80?
HTTP and HTTPS are two data transmission protocols for applications to communicate with the internet. While port number 80 is dedicated to HTTP, the other one operates on port number 443. The main difference between them is the addition of Secure Socket Layer in HTTPS connectivity.
The ultimate difference between HTTP and HTTPS comes down to data security. As HTTP sends data in plain text, it’s more vulnerable to cyber threats. In contrast, HTTPS encrypts data before transmission by using port 443 and Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security protocols.
What Is a Secure Socket Layer? What’s The Use of SSL Certificates?
The Secure Socket Layer is a HTTPS-based cryptographic protocol for network connections. It ensures secure communication between web browsers and web servers using encryption techniques. The SSL certificate establishes an encrypted link to maintain data confidentiality and integrity during the transfer process. Only trusted Certificate Authorities publish these certificates and use them for user authentication.
Explaining How HTTPS Works?
HTTP over an SSL or TLS connection works by encrypting data during transmission. It uses the Public Key Encryption technique to distribute a shared symmetric key for bulk data transmission.
When a user accesses a website, their browser and the web hosting server establish an encrypted connection using HTTPS port 443. Encryption with SSL or TLS safeguards sensitive user data, such as login credentials. The certificates validate the authenticity of the website through the TLS connection. Thus, the connection gets established!
What Is 443 Port Used For?
Port 443 is the designated port for HTTPS connections. It serves as the entry point for secure data transmission. So, when a user accesses a website over HTTPS, the web server connects with the browser through port number 443. That’s the purpose of this port!
How Can I Tell if a Website Uses HTTPS port 443?
You can easily identify whether a website uses HTTPS or not! Simply look for the padlock icon that comes in the browser's address bar. Also, check if the website URL begins with an HTTPS website link instead of an HTTP link.
How to enable Port 443?
You can follow the below steps to enable Port 443 for HTTPS on a web server:
Access Server Configuration: Depending on what type of server you are using, configure the server settings for HTTPS connectivity.
Check for Port 443 Availability: Verify if Port 443 is available or is already in use. You can use a command like “netstat” in the server to check its configuration.
Install SSL or TLS Certificate: You need a valid SSL or TLS certificate to enable Port 443. So, obtain the right certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority.
Validate the certificate: The validation process varies based on the server type. Usually, it involves uploading the certificate files to the server.
Configure Web Server: You need to follow the documented process of configuring the server for Port 443. You run a configuration test after configuring the server. It runs successfully if there are no syntax errors
Firewall Configuration & DNS Records: If you're using a firewall, ensure that it allows incoming traffic on Port 443. Now, configure your firewall settings and update your DNS records to point it to your server's IP address.
Test Secure Connection: Open a web browser and enter the web link. You should now be able to access your website securely over Port 443.
What Does HTTPS Port 443 Protect and Why?
As discussed earlier, HTTPS port 443 encrypted sensitive data before transferring over the internet. Whether you're shopping online or logging into your bank account, the secure connectivity ensures your personal information is well-protected.
Why Use an HTTPS Port? What Are The Advantages?
The advantages of HTTPS extend beyond data encryption. Listing here the top advantages:
Sensitive data protection: The main benefit of using HTTPS connectivity is to encrypt data for secure transmission. It ensures data integrity by using SSL protocol to authenticate user access. It also protects the data transition from various man-in-the-middle attacks.
Increases website SEO rank: The top Search Engine Result Pages display only the trustworthy websites for the users. HTTPS-driven websites rank highest with effective SEO as they offer secure connectivity over the internet. Therefore, websites with a valid SSL certificate rank higher than others.
Improves conversion rate: Websites with HTTPS connectivity easily achieve user trust as they assure them that their sensitive data is in safe hands. Naturally, people prefer to visit websites with HTTPS links over HTTP links.
Secure online transactions: Today’s most eCommerce websites heavily depend on online transactions. Websites with SSL certificates tend to receive highly encrypted data protocols that adhere to the Industry Data Security Standards.
What HTTPS Port 443 Doesn't Do?
While the HTTPS 443 port is used for data security, it comes with certain limitations. It only secures the pathway of data transmission. It doesn't guarantee the safety of the networking endpoints. It cannot prevent server vulnerabilities or malware risks against phishing. Further, as it doesn’t secure unencrypted websites, the user information remains vulnerable to all types of cyber threats.
What is Port 8443?
Port 8443 serves a similar purpose as HTTPS port 443. It is often used for securing web-based applications and services. Even though it is not as popular as port 443, it is frequently employed for HTTPS connections as an alternate secure port. This port supports multiple secure services to run on the same server.
What Is Port 8443 Used For?
Apache Tomcat: The Apache Tomcat web server mainly uses Port 8443 to establish secure SSL or TLS connections.
SSL Text Service: Apache Tomcat uses this protocol to offer Secure Sockets Layer text service through this port. In return, it ensures encrypted data transmission between the client and the server.
HTTPS Client Authentication: In this process, the server generates an authentication key pair within the web browser. So, the port enables the server to verify the key authenticity before establishing a secure connection.
Multi-Site Hosting: Port 8443 is also employed in multi-site hosting scenarios on the same server. It allows different sites to use distinct SSL certificates and secure their connections independently.
What is the Difference Between HTTPS Port 443 & Port 8443?
The primary difference between ports 443 and 8443 are highlighted below:
• Port 443 is the default choice for securing web traffic for HTTPS connections. However, Port 8443 is only an alternative to Port 443, which is available as an additional secure port.
• Most web browsers automatically use Port 443 when connecting to secure websites. However, network administrators are required to configure secure connections in the website plans to use port 8443 instead.
• Port 443 is commonly associated with SSL/TLS implementations. However, Port 8443 is commonly linked to the Apache Tomcat web server only for SSL text service.
Overall, you can spot the difference between these two ports only through the use cases involving multiple secure web applications or services on the same server.
How to enable Port 8443?
You can simply follow the same process as Port 443 to enable Port 8443. Once you configure the firewall and DNS records, you can test the connectivity over Port 8443 in the same manner.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Hopefully, you now have a clear understanding of what is a Port Number and what’s its use! First, we explained what port 80 used for and how HTTPS works. Later, we gave you a detailed comparison between Port 443 and Port 8443.
As you now know how HTTPS ports work, you can plan your system environments to ensure secure online interactions. Even though both ports serve the same purpose, you can use any of the ports based on your specific use case.
We recommend you carefully implement HTTPS connections that truly fortify the digital landscape. You must prioritize HTTPS connections to safeguard your users' data and enhance your website’s online presence. Additionally, you must stay vigilant to employ good cybersecurity practices that complement the protection offered by HTTPS.