Online Base64 Encoder & Decoder
By Daniel DeGroff
Base64 encoder and decoder
Use our online tool to encode and decode Base64 data.
What Is Base64 encoding?
Base64 encoding is a popular method used to encode binary data, particularly when this data needs to be stored or transferred over media designed to manage text. Its primary function is to ensure that the encoded data remains intact, without modification during transport. It’s a method often seen in numerous applications, including email via MIME and storing complex data in XML or JSON.
Base64 is a term for a group of similar encoding schemes that encode binary data by treating it numerically and translating it into a base-64 representation. The term “Base64” originates from a specific MIME-content transfer encoding.
How does Base64 work?
The Base64 encoding process involves the conversion of binary data into a set of 64 different characters -
/ are the standard set. These characters represent the data in an ASCII string format, making it safer for transport over systems designed for text. For example, in the Base64 scheme, the word
Man is encoded as
TWFu. The letters
n are stored as the bytes
110, which are equivalent to binary representations
01101110. These three bytes are joined in a 24-bit buffer producing a binary sequence. Groups of 6 bits are converted into 4 numbers (24 = 4 * 6 bits), which are then converted into their corresponding Base64 values.
Base64 and Java
In Java, Base64 encoding is commonly used when there is a need to encode binary data, particularly when that data needs to be stored and transferred over media designed to deal with text. This ensures that the data remains intact without modification during transport. Here’s how it relates to Java:
- Java Library Support: Java 8 and onwards provide support for Base64 encoding and decoding through the
java.util.Base64class. This class provides three different encoders and decoders:
- Encoding Data: The
Base64.getEncoder()method returns a
Base64.Encoderthat can be used to encode byte data or strings into a Base64 string.
- Decoding Data: The
Base64.getDecoder()method returns a
Base64.Decoderthat can be used to decode Base64 strings back into byte data.
- Handling Binary Data: If you’re working with binary data in Java, such as reading a binary file, or storing binary data in a database, you often need to encode the data in order to safely transmit and store it. Base64 is a common encoding method for this purpose.
- Web and Networking Applications: Base64 data is often used in web and networking applications in Java, such as when dealing with HTTP headers, URL parameters, and HTML form data, where binary data needs to be safely transmitted.
- Security and Encryption: In security-sensitive applications, Base64 is used to encode keys, certificates, and other security credentials. For example, a common use is encoding the public and private keys in public key cryptography.
Base64 and OAuth
Base64 encoding is often used in the OAuth 2.0 authorization framework, specifically in the process of issuing and handling tokens. Here are the key ways it is used:
- JWT (JSON Web Tokens): In OAuth 2.0, JWTs are often used as access tokens. A JWT is a compact, URL-safe means of representing claims to be transferred between two parties. The claims in a JWT are encoded as a JSON object. This JSON object is then used as the source of bytes when using JSON Web Signature (JWS) to ensure the JSON is not modified. It is also used as the plaintext source when using JSON Web Encryption (JWE) to protect the contents of the JSON object. Enabling the claims to be digitally signed or integrity protected with a Message Authentication Code (MAC) and/or encrypted ensures that the token cannot be modified or read by unauthorized parties. The JWT token is made up of three parts: Header, Payload, and Signature. Each of these parts is Base64 encoded.
- Basic Authentication: In some flows of OAuth 2.0, such as the client credentials flow, the client ID and secret are concatenated with a colon (
:) and then Base64 encoded. This encoded string is then sent in the Authorization header for basic authentication, as defined by the HTTP specification.
- Encoding Binary Data: In the context of OAuth and tokens, sometimes there is a need to send binary data. For example, a certificate or a document. Base64 is used to encode this binary data into text so it can be transmitted without loss or modification of the data.
By using Base64 encoding, OAuth 2.0 can safely transmit data across networks and systems that are designed to handle text, ensuring the integrity of the data and making it suitable for use in URLs, headers, and other HTTP components.Security & privacy
Base64 encoding is an essential tool in data management, particularly when dealing with systems designed to handle text. Understanding how it works and how to use it can greatly assist in tasks like email communication, data storage, and handling complex data in XML or JSON formats.