HTTP vs HTTPS: What’s the Difference between http and https & which one’s better?

HTTP vs HTTPS: What’s the Difference between http and https & which one’s better?

In order to make the internet a safe heaven, it is the responsibility of developers and website owners to take certain measures that ensure the online security of netizens. Millions of Viruses and Malwares have found their way into the computers of netizens who were unaware of the consequences of installing something or visiting an insecure website or a portal. Ecommerce web developers now have a lot on their plates when it comes to securing a website and payment gateways from intruders and hackers. To our relief, the browsers of today take care of most of the things that care harm your computer, but the scope of security they provide is limited.

In order to make the web a secure zone, search engines and browsers are compelling website owners to shift from http to https. The difference between http and https is significant enough to compel the search engines to rate the website containing https higher than others. Read along to find out more about what HTTPS is and why is it better than HTTP.

What does HTTP stand for – What’s http protocol?

The acronym ‘HTTP’ stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol – a simple protocol for sending and receiving text-based messages between different interconnected servers and systems. In order to view a webpage or a website, http protocol is used for sending data from a server to a browser that deciphers the data and showcases it in the form of visual images and text.

What does HTTPS stand for?

HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure – the same protocol as HTTP, but the text is encrypted. The difference between http and https will be explained further in the article.

What is an SSL certificate?

 The acronym SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a protocol that is used to transfer the data securely between the client and the server. SSL certificates are usually data files, that are small in size, that assigns a cryptographic key to the data that is being transferred.

When SSL certificate is installed on a web server, it immediately turns on the https protocol that allows for secure communication/transfer for data between the host server and the web browser (client). Once the SSL is installed, the http protocol changes into https. A padlock appears next to the domain in the address bar of the browser if the website has an SSL certificate installed.

Where is SSL Certificate used?

Apart from securing a website, SSL certificates are also used to secure online credit/debit card transactions, sensitive data transfers, and customer panel logins. Transfer of data between different Apps is also secured through SSL.

What does a SSL Certificate bind?

SSL certificated binds the following:

  • A domain, server or a host name.
  • A company’s details (i.e. company name) and location.

What’s the difference between http and https and why should you move to https from http?

In a survey shared by Mozcast, the number of websites appearing in the top positions of Google that are served on an https protocol is up from 25% in January 2016 to 40% in October 2016.

HTTP vs HTTPS: Is HTTPS a Ranking Factor in SEO?

Since the Google Chrome has started to warn users that their connection may not be secure (when connecting to a site served on HTTP instead of https) and that Google confirmed in 2014 that adding an SSL certificate to your website actually gives it a slight ranking boost.

Though Google has not provided a straightforward statement about the search engine favoring HTTPS websites, SEO experts have time and again told about the positive impact on rankings due to SSL implementation. Increase in Search Rankings isn’t the only benefit of moving to https, search engines have also emphasized on the benefits of encryption, data integrity, and authentication.

Benefits of using HTTPS other than SEO

Data sent using HTTPS is secured via Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS), which provides three key layers of protection:

1) Encryption: 

Eavesdroppers are a constant treat to internet users. Encrypting the transfer of data keeps the Eavesdroppers at bay. This means that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can find out what they are talking about, track their activities across multiple pages or steal their information.

2) Data integrity:

Data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer, intentionally or otherwise, without being detected.

3) Authentication: 

Proves that your users communicate with the intended website. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and builds user trust, which translates into other business benefits.

In this blog let us discuss the key factors which need to be looked after once your website has been migrated on HTTPS from HTTP.

Steps to be considered while migrating a website from HTTP to HTTPS

Following are the measures that every web developer or website owner should take into consideration when migrating a website from http to https:

  1. Crawl the current website so that you know the current state of the website and for comparison purposes.

        Action > Use an online tool like Https Checker, SSL Server Test etc.

  1. See if the redirection is working while accessing the same homepage URL with HTTP:// in the start

       Action > on accessing with HTTP, the website should navigate to the HTTPS URL.

  1. Make sure any external/3rd party scripts that are called support HTTPS. See if the green lock icon on URL address bar gets changed into exclamation mark once the webpage is fully loaded.

        Action > Turn on the browser Inspect element and see if there is mix content warning in the inspector.

  1. See the green lock icon in URL address bar of the browser.

       Action > The Green Lock icon ensures the webpage is fully secured

  1. Visit the other pages of the website and repeat the above steps to validate the HTTPS secure
  2. Use 3rd party online tools to check the URL’s are secured. (e.g.: HTTPS inspector, SSL Server Test etc) and compare the results.

       Action > OR

  1. Check your website page ranking on Google either they are improved or same

Key Takeaways – HTTP vs HTTPS: HTTPS for the win!

The HTTPS migration not only improves security but also increases the rankings of a website. Though there are many blogs are available on the benefits for HTTPS migration but the main reason to write this blog is to focus on the issues which can be faced after the migration and how they can be resolved. Apart from https migration, many other web security measures can be taken that will ensure a safe haven for internet users browsing your website.

Contact us if you have any questions about securing a website or ecommerce website development.


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