What is HTTP Monitoring?

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) are protocols used to send and receive data over the Internet. They are essential for online communication and play a critical role in data flow between a user’s browser and a website.

In other words, it’s like entering https://xitoring.com into your browser.


  • Stands For: Hypertext Transfer Protocol
  • Usage: It is used for transmitting and receiving information on the web.
  • Security: HTTP does not encrypt the data being transferred, which means it’s possible for unauthorized parties to intercept the data. This makes it less secure, especially for sensitive information.
  • Port: By default, it uses TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) port 80 for communication.


  • Stands For: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure
  • Usage: Like HTTP, it’s used for communicating on the web, but with an added layer of security.
  • Security: HTTPS encrypts the data during transmission, preventing eavesdroppers from understanding the data if they manage to intercept it. This is achieved through the use of SSL/TLS protocols.
  • Authentication: It also provides authentication of the accessed website, ensuring to the user that they’re communicating with the actual website and not a malicious site.
  • Port: By default, it uses TCP port 443 for secure communication.

In simple terms, the main difference between HTTP and HTTPS is security. HTTPS creates a secure channel over an unsafe network, protecting the integrity and confidentiality of data during transmission. This is especially crucial in transactions involving personal, financial, or sensitive data. Most current websites employ HTTPS to encrypt all communications and provide a safer experience for their visitors.

How is HTTP served on servers?

Serving HTTP on servers includes a series of actions and components that collaborate to handle web requests and answers.

  • Web Server Software – First, a web server software must be installed and running on the server. This software is responsible for listening to incoming HTTP requests. Popular web server software includes Apache, Nginx, Microsoft IIS, and LiteSpeed, among others.
  • Listening on a Port The web server software listens on a specific port for incoming connections. For HTTP, the default port is 80, though it can be configured to listen on any port.
  • Handling Requests – When a web browser or client makes a request to a server (by entering a URL or clicking a link), the following happens:
    1. DNS Lookup: The domain name in the URL is translated into an IP address through a DNS lookup.
    2. Connection Establishment: The client establishes a TCP connection to the server on the correct port.
    3. Sending the HTTP Request: The client sends an HTTP request to the server. This request includes the method (GET, POST, etc.), the path of the requested resource, and possibly headers and body data.
    4. Server Processing: The web server receives the request and processes it. This may involve executing server-side scripts (e.g., PHP, Python, or JavaScript with Node.js) to dynamically generate HTML content.
    5. Accessing Resources: The server accesses the requested resource, which can be a static file (like an HTML file, image, or CSS file) or dynamic content generated by scripts.
  • Sending a Response – The server then sends an HTTP response back to the client. This response contains:
    • Status Code: Indicating success (e.g., 200 OK), redirection (e.g., 301 Moved Permanently), client error (e.g., 404 Not Found), or server error (e.g., 500 Internal Server Error).
    • Headers: Providing metadata about the response, such as content type, content length, and caching policies.
    • Body: The actual content being sent to the client, such as an HTML document, image, or JSON data.
  • Closing the Connection – After the response is sent, the server may close the TCP connection, or it might keep it open for a while to allow for potential further requests from the client, leveraging the keep-alive feature of HTTP/1.1 to reduce the overhead of establishing new connections.

Security with HTTPS

The HTTPS method is similar, but it begins with a TLS handshake to create a secure connection before exchanging HTTP requests and responses. The server sends its SSL certificate to the client to authenticate its identity before establishing encrypted communication with symmetric encryption keys.

What is HTTP Monitoring?

HTTP monitoring refers to the process of checking and analyzing the HTTP/HTTPS traffic between clients (like web browsers) and servers to ensure that web services are available, responsive, and functioning correctly. It involves various techniques and tools to measure performance, availability, and any potential issues with web applications and services.

Types of HTTP Monitoring

  • Availability Monitoring: Checks if a website or web service is accessible and responding to requests. It often involves sending regular requests to a server and waiting for a response to confirm the service is up and running.
  • Performance Monitoring: Measures how fast a web application responds to requests. This can include tracking metrics like response time, load time, and the time to the first byte (TTFB). Performance monitoring helps identify bottlenecks and improve user experience.
  • Error Monitoring: Involves detecting and logging HTTP errors (such as 404 Not Found or 500 Internal Server Error) that occur when clients interact with a web service. It helps in identifying issues with web applications that need to be addressed.
  • Security Monitoring: Focuses on identifying security-related issues, such as detecting breaches, suspicious activities, or vulnerabilities in web applications.

Tools and Techniques

  • Synthetic Monitoring: Uses automated tests and scripts to simulate user interactions with a web application from various locations around the world. It helps in measuring performance and availability from a user’s perspective.
  • Real User Monitoring (RUM): Collects and analyzes traffic data from actual users in real-time. This approach provides insights into user experience, performance issues, and the impact of changes in the web application.
  • Log Analysis: Involves analyzing web server logs to extract information about HTTP requests and responses. It can reveal trends, patterns, and potential issues with web services.
  • Alerting Systems: Many monitoring tools include alerting mechanisms that notify administrators or developers when certain thresholds are exceeded or when issues are detected. This enables quick responses to problems.

Importance of HTTP Monitoring

HTTP monitoring is crucial for maintaining the health and performance of web applications. It helps in:

  • Ensuring Availability: Making sure that web services are always accessible to users.
  • Improving Performance: Identifying and addressing performance bottlenecks to enhance user experience.
  • Detecting Issues Early: Early detection of errors and issues allows for quicker fixes, reducing the impact on users.
  • Security: Monitoring can help in detecting potential security threats and vulnerabilities, allowing for timely interventions.

Overall, HTTP monitoring is a critical component of web application administration, ensuring that services are dependable, secure, and performant for consumers.

What metricts to monitor in http?

When monitoring HTTP/HTTPS traffic, there are several key metrics that can provide valuable insights into the performance, reliability, and overall health of web applications and services. Here are some of the most important metrics to monitor:

1. Response Time

  • Definition: The time it takes for a server to respond to a request. This includes the time to process the request and generate a response, but not the network latency involved in sending the request and receiving the response.
  • Importance: Indicates the speed and efficiency of the server. Long response times can lead to a poor user experience.

2. Time to First Byte (TTFB)

  • Definition: The time from the client making an HTTP request to the first byte of the response being received by the client’s browser.
  • Importance: A measure of the responsiveness of a web server. A lower TTFB is generally better, indicating a quicker start to data transmission.

3. Throughput

  • Definition: The amount of data transferred over a given time period. It’s measured in bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps).
  • Importance: Provides insights into the volume of traffic a server can handle effectively. High throughput is necessary to serve a large number of requests simultaneously without degradation in performance.

4. Error Rates

  • Definition: The percentage of requests that result in errors, typically HTTP 4xx and 5xx status codes.
  • Importance: Helps identify issues with web applications, such as broken links (404 errors) or server errors (500 errors). Monitoring error rates is crucial for maintaining a reliable service.

5. Availability/Uptime

  • Definition: The proportion of time that a service is operational and accessible. Often expressed as a percentage.
  • Importance: High availability is critical for ensuring that users can access the service whenever needed. Monitoring uptime helps detect and address service disruptions.

6. Traffic Volume

  • Definition: The number of requests made to the server over a given time period.
  • Importance: Helps in understanding the demand on the web service and planning for scalability. Sudden spikes in traffic can indicate either a surge in popularity or a potential DDoS attack.

7. Connection Times

  • Definition: The time it takes to establish a connection between the client and the server, including DNS lookup, TCP handshake, and SSL/TLS negotiation (for HTTPS).
  • Importance: Longer connection times can affect the overall response time and user experience, especially in secure connections requiring additional handshakes.

8. Page Load Time

  • Definition: The total time it takes for a page to fully load in a browser, including all resources like images, CSS, and JavaScript files.
  • Importance: Directly impacts user experience. Faster page loads are associated with higher user satisfaction and engagement.

Monitoring these metrics provides a comprehensive view of a web application’s performance, reliability, and efficiency. The tools for monitoring these indicators range from simple log analyzers to complex monitoring solutions that include real-time analysis and alerting capabilities.. You can start monitoring your HTTP and HTTPs NOW on different metrics with Xitoring’s Uptime Monitoring feature!