HTTPS vs HTTP: What's the Difference?
HTTPS and HTTP are the same protocol. The main difference is that the HTTPS protocol has an added layer of encryption (SSL/TLS). HTTP sites change to HTTPS by gaining an SSL certificate (sometimes called a security or digital certificate). An SSL certificate is a small data file that protects the transfer of sensitive data between the web browser and the web server.
The SSL certificate encrypts this data by making it unreadable during the transmission process. It contains a public key that allows users to send sensitive information from their web browser securely. The domain owner has a private key that decrypts this information once it reaches the server. This public-private key pairing ensures a secure connection.
Why Use HTTPS?
HTTPS is now the preferred protocol for all activity on the Web, as it is the safest way for users to protect sensitive information.
HTTPS is not just crucial for websites that request user information. Aside from information sent directly from users, attackers can also track behavioral and identification data from unsecured connections.
HTTP has benefits to site owners other than data security, including improved web functionality and user experience.
HTTPS establishes trust from website users, allowing them to double-check the domain name against the SSL Certificate. As the protocol encrypts all client-server communications through SSL/TLS authentication, attackers cannot intercept data, meaning users can safely enter their personal information.
Gaining user trust is especially important for online businesses, such as e-commerce stores. Potential customers need assurance that their payment details will not be compromised. Website owners without HTTPS are not only risking their customers' privacy but also their own reputations. Attackers can easily access customer information through unsecured connections. Such a breach could deter users from future transactions with the business due to lost trust.
SEO advantage of switching to HTTPS
If you’re looking at the main difference between HTTP and HTTPS, HTTPS obviously has a big advantage. After all, wouldn’t you want your site to be as secure as possible?
However, the security advantage isn’t the only benefit of using HTTPS. In fact, switching over to HTTPS can end up boosting your SEO efforts as well. The following are a few ways in which HTTPS can help to improve your SEO.
INCREASE YOUR WEBSITE RANKINGS
Besides the fact that Google itself has announced that sites switched to HTTPS will receive a small bump in rankings, doing so can lead to a rankings boost over time in any event because visitors will be more likely to browse through sites that they know are secure.
PRESERVE REFERRER DATA
The use of an HTTPS site makes Google Analytics more effective. This is because the security data of the website that referred to you is saved with the use of HTTPS – it’s not with HTTP sites. With HTTP sites, referral sources will just appear as “direct traffic”. This gives HTTPS a big advantage for SEO in itself.
BUILD TRUST WITH VISITORS
Because an HTTPS site encrypts all communication, visitors will protect not just sensitive information, like passwords and credit card information, but also their browsing history. Knowing that they will retain their privacy while browsing your site and knowing that anything that they download, sign up for or purchase won’t put them at risk due to a lack of security is going to help you to build trust, which is vital to capturing leads and closing sales.