My friend was asked this question in an interview

What happens when you open your browser and type in and hit enter? And what are the communications between the browser and the server assuming the page uses HTTPS.

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Sounds like a very reasonable question. That’s also how I usually start explaining how the internet and domains work to laymen.


Yeah, this is a basic question about how the browser and server interact. This is something that sometimes gets overlooked as we worry about jQuery and flex boxes, etc. But it’s important stuff to understand. I don’t think I truly understood it (to the extent that I do) until I did the backend section.

I’d say there are several levels of answer here and it is a pretty good way to gauge the sophisitication of the applicants understanding of the internet infrastructure.

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On a related note to web developers, a common concept missed by some (a lot?) or web developers is the concept of “state.”

And that is the web/http is a stateless communication between the web server and the browser.

And as a web developer working on front/backend, you’ll need to take this into account and important to understand so, most especially if you’re implementing login/authorization procedures or various level of authorizations. You’ll need some method to keep track of a particular user’s session and their state to distinguish their session from someone else, either thru user cookies, url parameters, or sessions saved at the server-side/database.

Some earlier web technologies tried to shield/hide away from the developer this stateless concept by managing it for them (I’m looking at you ASP.NET Webforms) coz I think MS wanted their desktop visual developers to feel comfortable/shift their skills to internet/web development… and kinda made the webforms behave/mimic more like desktop applications.

For HTTPS, you need to understand about Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and how SSL works.
There is my recommendation. This is a bit lengthy but very helpful.

Also sharing a picture of SSL HandShae process.

Hope this would be helpful.

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