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Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a communications protocol used to transfer or convey information on the World Wide Web. Its original purpose was to provide a way to publish and retrieve HTML hypertext pages. The version of HTTP in common use today is HTTP/1.1, defined in RFC 2616 (1999)

HTTP is a request/response protocol between clients and servers. The originating client, such as a web browser, spider, or other end-user tool, is referred to as the user agent. The destination server, which stores or creates resources such as HTML files and images, is called the origin server. In between the user agent and origin server may be several intermediaries, such as proxies, gateways, and tunnels.

An HTTP client initiates a request by establishing a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection to a particular port on a remote host (port 80 by default; see List of Ports). An HTTP server listening on that port waits for the client to send a request message. Upon receiving the request, the server sends back a status line, such as "HTTP/1.1 200 OK", and a message of its own, the body of which is perhaps the requested file, an error message, or some other information.

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