The difference between HTTP and HTTPS

Posted: Oct 29, 2014

More and more consumers are concerned with online security. Websites are now using additional protocols to ensure safe browsing. This can leave website owners wondering what they can do to make their websites secure. Check out the questions below regarding SSL Certificates and website security.


What is the Difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
HTTP is the first element you see in a URL. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transport Protocol. The ‘S’ at the end stands for Secure. So if there is a ‘S’ at the end of HTTP means you are on a secure website. The ‘S’ is created by an SSL certificate that has been placed on your website. This can also be identified by a lock symbol.

How does HTTPS work?
If you are on a website that has an SSL certificate, it encrypts the data that you send via the website. Whether it is your credit card information or email address the SSL takes that information and scrambles it so that no one can track your activities.

Is it fair to judge a site based on whether or not they are http or https?
No. Sites are different. If you have a purely informative site there is no need for an SSL certificate. If you are an ecommerce site where credit card transactions occur or where personal, private information is shared then an SSL certificate is recommended to protect your customer’s information.

Here is an example of site that uses an SSL and an example of a site that does not:

(Notice the "padlock" symbol by the URL in this image below?)


(No padlock symbol on this one)


Will HTTPS boost my ranking in Google?
Recently Google came out with a blog post stating that website security is their top priority, and that moving forward they will begin to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. At the moment this ranking signal is very lightweight and does not play a major role in your websites ranking factor. However, Google will continue to encourage website owners to make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS to ensure secure browsing.

How do I get an SSL certificate?
SSL certificates can be purchased at sites like GoDaddy for around $80 and last a year. After you have purchased an SSL certificate you or your web team will place it on the website’s server.

With consistent upgrades in technology and a changing digital landscape, it is important to stay up to date with website security best practices. Ensuring safe browsing for your customers will help increase brand trust and protect your customers.

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