HTTP vs HTTPS - What's the Difference?

HTTP vs HTTPS - What's the Difference?

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HTTP vs HTTPS - What's the Difference?

Have you ever looked at websites and wondered why some begin with HTTP and others begin with HTTPS? It used to be that only websites offering an e-commerce service and holding personal details would have the HTTPS prefix. But now the internet has evolved, there’s some good reasons why all businesses should be using HTTPS.

The Basics – What is HTTP and HTTPS
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Essentially, it’s a way for two different systems to speak to each other. In this sense, we’re talking about a web server speaking to a browser. A really basic way to think of it – it’s the coding language that turns a website’s data into the visual display that appears on web browsers.

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. So, it basically does the same thing as HTTP, but it’s a more secure connection. HTTPS pages utilise a technology called SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate which encrypts all of a website’s data.

What is the Main Difference?
The main difference here is security. We’re talking security for your data, and most importantly your customer’s data. If you have a website containing nothing but text and images for your customers to see, security may not be a huge issue for you.

Rather, if your website allows customers to interact with you, security is paramount. For example, if users are required to create an account and provide personal information such as address, phone, date of birth, you don’t want that information being stolen. If you deal in e-commerce and collect customer’s, it is absolutely paramount that you protect that information from hackers.

HTTPS uses the SSL certificate to encrypt the data flowing back and forth between the browser and web server by turning basic information into code. Therefore, if hackers were to gain access, the information would be unreadable and useless. It also uses a TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol which protects the data flow from corruption or modification.

What are the Benefits of HTTPS?

Aside from the obvious security benefits, HTTPS can also improve your website in other ways.

Gain Trust and Credibility
The additional security benefits of HTTPS should be displayed clearly on your website. The everyday internet user may not know the ins and outs of website security. But an SSL security logo on your homepage can instil a lot of buyer confidence. It tells users their data is protected, and it’s safe to make purchases from you.

Boost SEO Ranking
Google gives a rankings boost to HTTPS websites. They’re constantly looking to give users the best experience, so they want to recommend secure sites over non-secure ones. So, from an SEO point of view, you can get an added bonus straight away by switching to HTTPS. Security also leads to more page visitors, which in turn can boost search rankings if people are finding your website relevant.

Better Mobile Experience
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a system for making pages load faster on mobile devices. How does that relate to HTTPS? Well, you can’t use AMP without it, so if you want to give users a better mobile experience, HTTPS is essential.

Risks of Switching to HTTPS

Switching to HTTPS can have significant benefits for your business, but it’s also important to know the risks. The main issues that can occur are with search engines themselves. You’ll need to notify Google of the change and request they index your site, otherwise it can take a while for them to crawl your site. You’ll also need to ensure that search engines CAN crawl your site.

If you’re having difficulty with the switch, we recommend contacting your web developers or SEO experts to ensure a smooth transition. BDM Media can help with your transition, as well as monitoring the results from your switch. You don’t want to be left behind, but it’s important to transition to HTTPS properly and safely.

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