What is Base64?
Base64 encoding is a process of converting binary data to an ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) character set format. This is done by converting the binary data into a 6-bit character representation. The resulting character set is all printable ASCII characters, which makes it safe to use in email and other text-based communications. Base64 encoding is commonly used in online communications, such as email and instant messaging to protect the information during transmission process from being corrupted as any errors occur during transmission will be caught and fixed.
Why is Base64 still being used in modern day computers?
There are a couple of reasons why base64 is still very popular in today's computers:
- It's because base64 is supported by legacy systems and protocols. Without base64, older legacy email protocols such as SMTP wouldn't allow you to send your attachments through your email. Another example is when you need to upload your file on the internet. Both computer's browser and smartphone are always needed to encode your files into base64 format before the uploading process is starting
- Base64 is character safe, so you can easily transmit your Unicode character, image, audio, or text that may contain any special characters without the need to worry about data loss or corruption
Are Base64 and Encryption do the same thing?
Base64 and encryption are two different things. Although base64 may look a bit obscure, it won't protect your sensitive data from unauthorized parties reading or altering your message. Its main purpose is to encode your message so you can safely transmit it to both legacy and modern computer systems and protocols. While the encryption is a way to transform your message into a secret text that is unreadable by unauthorized parties yet can easily decode and process by the legitimate parties.