What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
HTTP and HTTPS are two protocols used for transmitting data over the Internet. They serve as the foundation for communication between web browsers (like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) and websites. HTTPS uses encryption to increase online security and keep data confidential between a web browser and a website.
What is HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)?
HTTP, short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, enables the transfer of data over the Internet. It operates on a client-server model, where a web browser acts as the client, and a web server hosts the accessed website. HTTP is a fundamental protocol for fetching resources, such as HTML pages, images, videos, and other media, from web servers.
What is HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure)?
HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is an extension of HTTP that adds an extra layer of security through encryption. This protocol ensures that the data exchanged between a web browser and a website remains confidential and protected from unauthorized access.
Key Differences between HTTP and HTTPS
Encryption: The primary distinction between HTTP and HTTPS lies in the level of data encryption. HTTP does not encrypt the information transmitted between the client and server, making it susceptible to interception and tampering. On the other hand, HTTPS encrypts the data using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols, ensuring that the information remains secure during transmission.
The encryption used in HTTPS is based on public-key cryptography, which uses a pair of keys, one public and one private. The public key is used to encrypt the data, and the private key is used to decrypt it. This ensures that only the intended recipient can read the encrypted data.
Security: Since HTTP does not use encryption, it is considered less secure than HTTPS. HTTPS utilizes cryptographic protocols to establish a secure connection, safeguarding sensitive data like login credentials, financial transactions, and personal information from potential hackers or eavesdroppers.
Certificate: Websites that use HTTPS are required to obtain an SSL/TLS certificate. TAn SSL/TLS certificate is a digital file that binds a website’s identity to its public key. This allows web browsers to verify that the website is genuine and that the data being transmitted is secure. This certificate is issued by a trusted certification authority and serves as a digital credential that verifies the website’s authenticity. When a browser connects to a website over HTTPS, it checks the validity of the SSL/TLS certificate.
URL Format: URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) for HTTP and HTTPS differ in their format. HTTP URLs start with “http://” followed by the website’s domain name (e.g., http://www.example.com), while HTTPS URLs begin with “https://” (e.g., https://www.example.com). The “s” in HTTPS stands for “secure.”
Why HTTPS is important for businesses
Data Protection: Using HTTPS is crucial for businesses that handle sensitive data, such as customer information, credit card details, or login credentials. By implementing HTTPS, businesses can encrypt this data, reducing the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and identity theft.
Trust and Reputation: Websites that use HTTPS provide a secure browsing experience to their visitors, fostering trust and credibility. As online security concerns continue to rise, customers are more likely to engage with businesses that prioritize their privacy and demonstrate a commitment to data protection. Most web browsers will alert the user if your website does not have a valid SSL certificate or does not use HTTPS which can drastically affect the trust users have with your website.
SEO Benefits: Search engines, like Google, prioritize websites that use HTTPS in their rankings. Google has stated that HTTPS is a ranking factor, meaning that websites that use HTTPS are more likely to appear higher in search results. By migrating from HTTP to HTTPS, businesses can improve their visibility in search engine results and attract more organic traffic to their websites.
Legal protection: HTTPS can also help to protect businesses from legal liability. For example, if a business’s website is hacked and customer data is stolen, the business could be held liable if it did not use HTTPS.
Should I migrate my website from HTTP to HTTPS?
In almost every scenario, we’d recommend you migrate from HTTP to HTTPS as soon as possible. Without it, your website could suffer from breaches in data privacy legislation like GDPR and result in a hefty fine.
The cost of migrating to HTTPS is relatively low, and the benefits are significant.
It’s also worth noting that many website users can be fickle, and even the smallest problem can cause them to bounce and leave your website. Without using HTTPS or establishing a valid SSL/TLS certificate, users are likely to be presented with big red warning icons within their browser that can turn them away from your website instantly, or require the user to click another button in order to access your site in an insecure manner.
In summary, HTTP and HTTPS are protocols that govern the transmission of data over the Internet. While HTTP is the standard protocol, HTTPS adds an extra layer of security through encryption, protecting sensitive information, and ensuring data integrity. For many users, using HTTPS is also an expectation for all websites. Implementing HTTPS is crucial for businesses to safeguard customer data, build trust, and enhance their online presence. By adopting HTTPS, businesses can provide a secure browsing experience and protect their customers’ privacy in an increasingly interconnected digital landscape.