What is HTTPS and Why Should You Care?
The difference HTTP and HTTPS might seem trivial to the average person, but few really understand how one small letter can have so many implications. However, knowing the difference is now more important than ever and could have direct repercussions on you, whether you’re an average web browser or a business owner. Let’s take a closer look at what separates the two exactly and why understanding the difference is so important.
What is HTTPS and Why is it So Important?
HTTP is short for hypertext transfer protocol. This protocol allows multiple systems to communicate with each other, notably when transferring data to and from a particular web server in order to access and use websites.
However, HTTP has an inherent flaw which makes it somewhat easy to penetrate. Whenever you use HTTP, your web browser will start looking up the site’s IP, connect to it and assume that you’re connected to the right server. Data will then be going back and forth between you and the website, but in clear text form. And therein lies the issue.
Since the data isn’t encrypted, any third party could eavesdrop on your connection and could access your personal information and data on which pages you visited for instance. This is a big problem on many levels. First of all, you have no insurance when using HTTP that you’re actually connected to the right website. You might be simply navigating over a compromised network and be redirected to a malicious site instead. This is why you should never share credit card info through HTTP since it could be picked up by someone else since it won’t be encrypted. This is where HTTPS comes in.
HTTPS Offers an Extra Layer of Protection
HTTPS offers much more security than HTTP. Instead of automatically connecting to an IP address assuming it’s the right website, your browser will actually look up a security certificate and see if it was issued by a reputable certificate authority. It will also check whether the certificate has expired or not. This will actually ensure that you are connected to the right website and not an imposter. Though in some cases bad certificates are issued by certificate authorities, HTTPS is still a much more secure option than HTTP.
And when sending information over HTTPS, a third party cannot simply eavesdrop on your connection and pick up your information, which makes things like online banking safer.
What are the Implications for Website Owners?
People are slowly steering away from HTTP and there is now a move towards HTTPS. People are just more aware of how their information can be used and shared and are more conscious about their own cybersecurity and privacy. By making the switch to HTTPS, you are simply making your site more secure and ensuring the security of your clients if they are sharing personal information. Google also privileges sites with security certificates over HTTP ones, so if you haven’t made the switch already, you might eventually get less visibility as a result.
As you can see, knowing the difference between HTTP and HTTPS is not only important to ensure your own cybersecurity, but could have an effect on how you run your business as well. So, make sure that you understand these implications and make sure your and your clients’ data remains secure at all costs.