If you’re like everyone else, then you’ve spent countless hours trawling the Internet in search of everything from the weather forecast to that vague commercial you remember seeing as a child. You’ve probably noticed that some URLs begin with HTTP or http:// and others begin with HTTPS or https://, both of which mean different things.
Although they’re distinguished only by a single letter, they are vital, especially since they’re part of the web pages you visit every day. They form a critical part of Internet security, so it pays to know what they mean and how they affect your website visitors’ browsing experience. It can even impact how people perceive your company and social media, as the best SMO company in London would tell you. Here’s what you need to know:
All About HTTP: No Data Encryption
Each URL that starts with HTTP uses a fundamental kind of “hypertext transfer protocol,” which the acronym means. Tim Berners-Lee created it in the early 1990s when the Internet was still in its early beginnings. It was the network protocol standard that allowed web browsers and servers to exchange data with each other, effectively communicating.
HTTP is also referred to as a stateless system, which means that it facilitates connection when given the ‘go’ signal. By clicking on a link, you’re requesting a connection, which the web browser sends to the server. The server then responds by opening and displaying the page. The faster your Internet connection, the faster the exchange of data, which means you’ll get to see the web page in full more quickly.
HTTP is also an application layer protocol, which means its priority is to present information without being too concerned about how it travels from one point to the next. That is a significant security flaw, as HTTP can be intercepted and even altered, which means both you and the information are vulnerable to attacks.
HTTPS: A Secured, Private Connection
On the other hand, HTTPS is the more advanced and secure version of HTTP. The protocol it uses is an extension of HTTP, with the S standing for “secure.” The Transport Layer Security or TLS, the successor to Secure Sockets Layer or SSL, powers HTTPS through technology that creates an encrypted connection between a browser and a web server.
Under HTTP, the data you enter into the website, like your credit card details, username, password, and other kinds of submission is sent in plaintext, which means hackers can easily intercept or eavesdrop and view this information. Luckily, this doesn’t happen with HTTPS websites, thanks to the added security. That’s why it’s essential to check whether the website you’re using is HTTPS before inputting any kind of information. Additionally, TLS also verifies the server you’re connecting to while protecting the data it sends.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of HTTPS
HTTPS helps protect your data and privacy online. It’s a much better alternative than HTTP since it authenticates the server, encrypts the data, and protects them from tampering. In fact, HTTPS is a requirement for sites collecting payment information as mandated by the PCI Data Security Standard. Site visitors are also increasingly more vigilant about the security of their data, and they’ll want the assurance that their data is being securely transmitted.
Another advantage of HTTPS is that it can boost website rankings, as Google announced the protocol to be a ranking signal in 2014. The search engine also marks all HTTP sites as non-secure to protect browsers from falling victim to hackers. Additionally, customers are more likely to abandon their cart if they notice that the website uses HTTP instead of HTTPS. That’s why the best West London digital agencies recommend using the newer protocol instead.
The only downside to HTTPS is that it’s easy to get side-tracked when switching from HTTP because of the many options you can access. The great news is that many hosting companies offer SSL certificates in their services.
The Internet has over 4 billion users, which means an increased demand for tighter cyber-security. Coupled with browser encouragement and regulations, transitioning to HTTPS will be a smart move, as it will give your customers the assurance they need that the data they’re entering into your website is safe and secure.
Vaxa Web is a full-service digital agency in London specialising in building and delivering comprehensive strategic design, development, and marketing plans. We also offer SEO, digital marketing, branding, graphic design, and website design. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for your business!