HTTPS v HTTP Protocol

HTTP v HTTPS – What you need to know

If it were 2014, not many of us would have indulged ourselves in this HTTP v HTTPS debate with a lot of enthusiasm or even cared about the topic. Thanks to a Google recommendation back in 2014, all websites had to switch to HTTPS from HTTP. To ensure a more significant percentage of users followed the transition to HTTPS, Google came up with a clever scheme. Sites that switched to HTTPS got the green light after it the announcement of HTTPS becoming a ranking signal and has become a mainstay in Search Engine Optimisation.

We are pretty sure that by now, you have a lot of questions in your mind. What is HTTP and HTTPS, and why switching from former to later is important?

What is HTTP & HTTPS?

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) are two methods used to transfer data across the Internet.

As you can see from the names above, HTTPS provides security enhancements over the original HTTP protocol. When browsing the web, when you visit a website using the HTTP protocol, all of the data moving between your computer or website is sent unencrypted. 

Think back to the Engima machine – before then, any notes passed around were done so by writing the message on a note and sending it on it’s way to the receiver. If the note arrived to the receiver without any issues, it worked perfectly. But, if it was intercepted, it, of course, caused huge problems, just like using the HTTP protocol can cause. 

Imagine buying something on an eCommerce website, and all of your essential details such as credit card information are sent in plain text. If a hacker managed to interfere in with the data transfer taking place between two systems, your details are there for the taking! HTTPS was created, so any data sent over the Internet is done in an encrypted way, just how the Engima machine used to operate. If a hacker managed to gain access to the data transfer, i.e., your online payment, they’d see a random jumble of letters and numbers in replacement of your credit card details.

The HTTPS protocol encrypts the entire transaction by using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). The purpose of SSL is to create a safe and secure connection between the two critical elements of data transfer, which are server and the web browser. This way, the HTTPS can provide an encrypted identification of a network server.

Switching from HTTP to HTTPS?

The case for switching from HTTP to HTTPS is a powerful one. You see, trust and privacy are something every internet user is conscious about. Which protocol are they more likely to use? One which establishes secure transactions or the one which is not encrypted at all? Indeed, HTTPS is the most apparent choice all across the Internet.

GlobalSign carried out an interesting research study, that estimated how many users were conscious of secure protocols like HTTPS. They found out that more than 80 per cent of respondents were willing to ditch a purchase altogether if HTTPS was not in use. 

Nowadays, SSL certificates can be installed for free meaning there is little reason not to do so, to keep your website and your users safe. Not only will you provide a safe environment, but you’ll also be sending a significant ranking signal to search engines too.

At Elara, if your website is hosted on our cloud servers, we’ll install and manage your SSL certificate, free of charge. Your website will receive the full protection and the benefits of the HTTPS protocol discussed above.

Aaron is our lead web developer, managing our website projects and maintenance packages.