HTTP Secure – How to unblock websites on the Internet?
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is the protocol most commonly used by your browser to request web pages from servers on the Internet. It is the de facto protocol that is used by clients (users) to communicate with servers (websites). Whenever you type a web address in your browser, the HTTP protocol kicks in. And it then does things in the background that eventually displays the requested page on your screen. The HTTP protocol requests typically the web page you want to access. This is by connecting to Port 80 of the remote server, and http:// precedes the web address.
It is quite easy for your college or company to block outgoing HTTP requests to Port 80 of any website of their choice. For example, it is quite easy for them to use a firewall or filtering device to monitor all outgoing HTTP requests sent to Port 80 of a remote server. And then block any requests that are being sent to specific websites like http://www.facebook.com or http://www.youtube.com. If such filtering is implemented, it would mean that you would not be allowed to access these websites! This is where a simple solution that makes use of the HTTP Secure protocol comes into the picture.
What is HTTP Secure?
HTTP Secure, or HTTPS, is basically a combination of regular HTTP protocol and SSL encryption protocol. It allows a user to establish a secure encrypted connection with a website hosted on a remote server. Typically, HTTPS is a protocol that is commonly used by sites with sensitive transactions like online payments. Other than being secure, another difference between https and http is the fact that by default, https connects to Port 443 of the remote server and https:// precedes the web address.
Some careless or inexperienced system administrators will only block outgoing HTTP requests that are going to Port 80 that of a website. And they would forget to block outgoing HTTPS requests going to Port 443 of the same site. This means that if http://www.google.com is blocked by your system administrator, you could try to unblock it by simply changing the protocol. Along with this, you can also change the remote port number being accessed by typing https://www.facebook.com. On many occasions, this simple trick will do the job and will allow you to access blocked websites. As simple as that!
How to find out the Port you are connected to?
Normally, when you are connecting to websites using HTTP protocol, your computer will connect to Port 80 of the remote websites. There is a simple command line or MS-DOS tool called netstat. This command displays all the currently active connections on your computer. This includes the remote address and port numbers on which they are established. When you are connected to remote websites merely using HTTP and if you go to the MS-DOS prompt and type the command netstat —n, you will get the following reply:
Note: The netstat —n tells you that most of the remote ports that you are connected to on the remote machines are on Port 80, that is, HTTP port.
Now, if you were to close all browser windows and just connect to https://www.facebook.com. And after that, quickly open up MS-DOS or the Command Line prompt and type the netstat —n command. You will notice that almost all outgoing connections are now connected to Port 443 (the HTTPS Port) on the remote servers. This is the main difference between HTTP and HTTPS.
Similarly, there is a fascinating tool called TCP View. It can be downloaded for free from www.systeminternals.com. This application gives you a list of active processes or applications on your computer. And also gives the respective ports and connections that they have currently opened.
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