HTTP vs HTTPS - How Secure is Your Site?

Are you now seeing several websites that you visit are not secure? Why are Google searches ranking sites with HTTPS over those with only HTTP? Most importantly, are you losing clients, customers or visitors to your site because it is not secure?

HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol

HTTP is the protocol used when transmitting information across the internet. It defines the appearance of files, how messages are formatted, and what actions both web servers and browsers should take for certain commands. Any files that are requested including text, graphic images, sound, video, or other multimedia files, must run through an HTTP protocol.

To make this a little more clear:

  • A browser (like Chrome, Safari, etc) sends a request to view a certain image

  • HTTP then sends the request to a web server where the image resides

  • The web server runs an application to process the request and returns the image using HTTP back to the browser

  • The user then receives the image back in the browser

HTTPS: Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol

HTTPS added an extra layer of security on these data transfers, encrypting the information using a protocol called TLS (Transport Layer Security) which does the following:

  • It encrypts all exchanged data

  • It stops data from being corrupted or modified during the transfer without an alert being sent

  • It send authentication to prove that users are on the correct website and not redirected

SSL: Secure Socket Layer

SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. By having an SSL certificate, a website is now deemed secure and encrypted and the HTTP will be changed to HTTPS (the “S” is for Secure”

When visiting a website with SSL, the browser forms a connections with the webserver, then binds them together so that no one can see the information being requested or accessed.

Google Prefers HTTPS Sites

Google searches show a preference for sites that are more secure and are using HTTPS sites as a ranking signal. Getting an SSL certificate can sometimes be a lengthy process depending on your website origins, but worth it in the long run for many reasons:

  • It may increase your rankings

  • It preserves data integrity

  • The data is more secure

  • Most importantly, clients and customers are more apt to use your site if they know their data is safer

If you need help either creating a secure website or updating your current one to HTTPS, please contact Charlotte’s Web Designs.

Beth Okun