HTTP and HTTPS – What are they and what’s the difference?
HTTP – Hypertext Transfer Protocol – is the communication method used to exchange information on the World Wide Web. It’s the set of rules for transferring files (text, images, video, audio, etc) and it governs how an internet document, or website, displays on your screen.
HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP – the ‘S’ at the end stands for Secure. HTTPS requires an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate which enables encryption of sensitive data such as passwords, email addresses and form input details (e.g. credit card information), to ensure secure communication between a user’s browser and the hosting server.
Why is HTTPS so important?
The encryption of data between browsers and web servers helps to keep user information safe from hackers. Without an SSL certificate, intruders can listen in to and potentially exploit communications between the website and the users. In the past, it was recommended that any websites transferring credit / debit card details should use the HTTPS protocol, but now we are being advised that all websites make use of HTTPS.
In addition to the security benefits of HTTPS, major search engines such as Google and Bing are now rewarding websites that use the HTTPS protocol, enhancing their rankings over the non-secure HTTP equivalent.
Google has also declared HTTPS as the “future of the web” with several web applications already requiring the secure protocol to work, and many more expected to follow.
How can I tell if a website is using HTTPS?
Most browsers now display a small green padlock in the website address bar to show a website is using HTTPS. You can also check the URL in the address bar – if it starts with https:// then it’s secure, and if it starts with http:// it’s not.
Should I transfer my website to HTTPS?
At Oracle Design we highly recommend upgrading your site to HTTPS. The process is technical and requires the purchase and installation of an SSL certificate, updating all website links and setting up 301 redirects to notify search engines and previous users that your site address has changed. We can take care of the whole process for you, so if you’d like help upgrading your site to HTTPS please get in touch to find out more.