HTTP vs. HTTPS- what’s the difference?
What difference can a letter make? Well, a lot actually.
In order to fight against cyber threats and ensure the highest level of web security, all businesses operating a website must adopt HTTPS security protocol. Let’s look at why.
With HTTP alone, if someone intercepts data while it’s in transit (a man-in-the-middle attack) they would be able to see all of the data coming and going with very little effort. Enter: HTTPS. HTTPS uses public key encryption via s SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate to prevent this kind of attack through verification and encryption.
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Basically, it allows for communication between different systems and is most commonly used to transfer data from a web server to a browser. Before 2014, it was the basic protocol all early websites followed and only sites with e-commerce pages went the HTTPS route. The drawback with HTTP, simply put, is that the information moving from server to browser is not encrypted which means information such as credit card information or passwords can be easily stolen. Then in 2014 Google recommended that all websites switch to the more secure HTTPS. And as an incentive Google even provided companies that made the decision to switch a slight bump in rankings, giving them an edge over their less secure, HTTP competitors.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS websites are more secure through the use of an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate, which creates an encrypted connection between the server and the browser. By translating sensitive data into a code, even if a hacker manages to steal the data being communicated between the sender and the recipient, they would not be able to understand it due to this encryption.
These trusted digital certificates play an important role in building trust between a browser and a server. They are issued by a third party and identify the webserver is who they claim to be. In addition, they encrypt the data flowing to and from the website keeping it secure from outsiders.
Additional Advantages of Switching to HTTPS
Visitors are more likely to visit and buy from sites they can trust. As HTTPS becomes more the expectation than the exception, sites following HTTPS will see a boost in rankings vs their HTTP counterparts. HTTPS sites encrypt all communication, which means visitors’ browsing history will also be protected. Their experience on your website as they download information, register their data, and make purchases won’t put them at risk which will help you retain a loyal customer and make more sales.
The website owner also has advantages of using HTTPS. In addition to attracting more security minded customers, your website is more secure from potential security breaches, which can cost your company serious economic and reputational damages.
The first step in making your website more secure is purchasing an SSL certificate and a dedicated IP address from your hosting company. Switching to HTTPS is a pretty straightforward process for smaller websites. While it is more complicated for larger websites from an SEO perspective, for a small investment, skilled technical staff can easily make the changes. One thing is certain, Using HTTPS will increasingly be the norm rather than the exception, and you should plan to migrate sooner rather than later. Remember, if customers don’t feel safe on your site, they won’t want to do business with you.