What is Port 443 – What You Need to Know About HTTPS 443

Have you come here looking for answers to the queries you have about Port 443?

You have come to the right place.

This article will focus on Port 443, how it works, what it protects, and why we need it.

You may be aware that your system will reach out to the host server when you visit a website.

The process seeks out a connection on either the HTTP or HTTPS port, whichever is linked with web traffic.

After the server connects to the port, it sends back the website information, which your system will receive on the same port.

Ports see that the network connections make it to the right place. Also, they ensure that the traffic does not get messed up.

Moreover, ports are needed for security reasons.

Now, there are different types of network ports numbered differently, like Port 22, Port 80, and so on. Port 443 is one of them.

Let us try to understand Port 443 in detail.

What is Port 443?

You can understand Port 443 as a web browsing port used to secure web browser communication or HTTPS services.

It will provide encryption and transport over secure ports. Thus, the data you transfer across such connections are highly resistant to third-party eavesdropping and interruption.

Moreover, the identity of the server that you connect remotely can be authenticated with confidence.

Once the connection is established, web browsers will display signs like a padlock, an unbroken key, etc. in the status region of your window, informing you about the secured connections.

Though Port 443 is the standard port for HTTPS traffic, HTTPS port 443 can also support HTTP sites. In case the site uses HTTPS but is unable to load over port 443, port 80 that handles all unencrypted HTTP web traffic will step in to load the HTTPS-enabled website.

How does HTTPS work?

HTTPS makes use of an encryption protocol called Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt communications.

This protocol secures communications using the asymmetric public key infrastructure. This security system implements two different keys to encrypt communications between two parties, known as the private key and the public key.

asymmetric encryption

The web owner has control over the private key, and it lives on a web server. Its function is to decrypt information that the public key encrypts.

The public key is available to all who want to interact with the server securely. When the public key encrypts information, only the web owner can decrypt it using the private key.

Whenever you browse an HTTPS site, and your browser connects to the server, the server responds with its certificate. This process is called the SSL handshake.

The goals are:

  • To assure the client that it is connecting to the right server.
  • For both the parties to have consent on a cipher suite. It includes which encryption algorithm will be used during the exchange of data.
  • For both parties to have consent on any required keys for this algorithm

ssl handshake

Source : Medium.com

After the connection is established, the agreed algorithm and keys can be used by both parties to securely exchange messages.

The browser will verify the validity of the certificate:

  • The owner’s information should match the server name requested by the user.
  • A trusted certificate authority should have signed the certificate.

In case any of these conditions are not met, the user will be notified.

browser certificate validation

What does HTTPS Port 443 protect, and why do we need it?

HTTPS provides security to the data or sensitive information shared between your browser and the server. It ensures that your ISP (or anyone else on the network) cannot read or interfere with the conversation by encrypting the exchanges and granting privacy.

The SSL certificate features a lock icon that will appear on your address bar when you install it. It is an indication that your site is secure.

But do not be misguided about this secure lock feature. It sure does encrypt the communication channel, but it does not guarantee that an attacker will not regulate the website you are connecting with.

Moreover, if there are weak spots on your site, hackers will take advantage of them and compromise your data. Installing an SSL/TLS certificate is not enough to ensure that your website will never be attacked.

Note that while HTTPS will encrypt application layer data and secure it, the extra information added to the network or transport layer may be exposed.

When your browser makes an HTTPS connection, a TCP request is sent through port 443 to establish the connection. In the process, the data transferred between the client and the server is encrypted. But it cannot safeguard users against fingerprinting attacks.

The type of information that an attacker can access include:

  • The user’s IP address and location
  • Data size
  • The linked website
  • The number of times the connection is made

Now, coming to why HTTPS port 443 is important, if you are running a website that demands security such as banking, shopping, etc., you will be exchanging payment information on your site.

Encryption is crucial to protect sensitive information. With regular HTTP, all the information you exchange between your computer and a website will be readable by anyone as they will be available in plain text.

Moreover, your customers will be reluctant to deal with your business when you do not give online security importance and show authenticity. An HTTPS site can gain your customer’s trust.

There are other benefits associated with an HTTPS site, including ranking higher in search engines, updated browser levels, and increased conversions.

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Wrapping Up

Now that you are clear about HTTPS port 443, do you plan to switch your site to HTTPS? By doing so, you will enjoy improved security and all the other benefits mentioned in the article, including customer trust. If you implement SSL/TLS certificate and run your site over HTTPS port 443, it is a crucial step you can take to secure your site.


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