As web users, we see it everyday and we generally ignore it. The acronyms “http” or “https” appear in the browser window with the url, or website name, for all websites. So what’s the difference?
What is HTTP?
HTTP, or hypertext transfer protocol, is the basic language that allows data to transfer from web servers to users’ web browsers. It allows you to view web pages without any security measures. So any information shared with a website can be intercepted by a third party.
Seeing http://www.website.com in your browser window would indicate that you’re connecting to a non-secure site.
What is HTTPS?
The “S” stands for secure. This has historically been used for e-commerce websites. It provides an encryption layer to keep third parties from gathering data being passed between systems. So when shopping on the web, seeing https://www.website.com in your browser window would indicate that you’re shopping at a secure site.
If you thought HTTPS was only for e-commerce, think again.
HTTPS employs what is known as an SSL Certificate. This “secure socket layer” creates an encryption layer between web servers and web browsers. This is critically important when transferring sensitive data such as credit card information. But it is equally important to protect information such as street addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, log-ins, passwords, etc. that we share or fill out in online forms.
The HTTPS designation provides visitors with the confidence that they are visiting a trusted, secure site.
We all like trusted sites, especially Google. That’s why Google recommends making your site HTTPS whether or not your site is e-commerce. They would like all sites to be secure.
Because of the added security and trust, Google gives HTTPS sites a ranking advantage over HTTP sites. And, as site owners and managers, we know the value of better search engine results!