HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, an encrypted and secure version of the HTTP protocol. This protocol will encrypt all the data that is transmitted from your web browser to the website that you are connected to and vice-versa. That said, all this data will be secured and unable to be intercepted while transmitting.
Because of that reason, the HTTPS protocol is often used to guard online transactions like online purchases with credit card payments or online banking activities. For distinguishing HTTPS and HTTP protocol, besides starting with HTTPS or HTTP on the website address, there will be a green padlock icon to show that an HTTPS connection is in effect visually.
How Does The HTTPS Protocol Work?
Technically, the HTTPS protocol uses a pair of keys: the public key and private key, to encrypt all the data. If using the public key to encrypt the data, then that data can only be decrypted by the private key and opposite. In case of a website, the public key is available publicly and will be distributed to all users, while the private key is stored securely on the web server.
What Is A SSL Certificate?
When you send an HTTPS request to a particular website, it will respond and send its SSL certificate to your web browser. This SSL certificate contains the public key that will be used to establish the HTTPS session. As a result, your web browser and the website will create an SSL handshake to generate the session key. This key will be used to start a unique and secure connection between your browser and the site.
Why Should You Use HTTPS On Your Website?
You may know that when using the HTTP, all data will be sent in plain text, unencrypted and insecure. Because of that, attackers with the right tools and an appropriate situation can easily break this unsafe connection between your web browser and the website to steal information.
So as you can see, it’s very dangerous when using the HTTP protocol, especially when making online purchases that you need to provide sensitive details like credit cards or your social security number. In the case of using HTTPS, all those details will be encrypted before sending. So, if anyone can intercept your HTTPS connection, they can only view encrypted version of the data. Furthermore, it’s not possible to decrypt any of the data.
If you are a website owner, you should enable the HTTPS protocol on your website, even if it’s not an online shopping site or collecting users’ information. Nowadays, enabling HTTPS on a website is quite cheap. It costs you around $10 for a single SSL certificate for a domain name. Even better, you can turn on HTTPS on your website for free with CloudFlare or Let’s Encrypt.
However, if you don’t have experience of installing SSL certificate on your website, we would recommend hiring someone who has skills to do it for you. This will help you save time and avoid unwanted SSL errors, like the one with the “Your connection is not private” error message in Google Chrome. Otherwise, using CloudFlare is the best option as you don’t need to set up anything.
Here are four major benefits of enabling HTTPS on your website. Take a look at them and consider using this secure protocol to protect users’ online privacy.
#1. Data Integrity
The primary purpose of enabling the HTTPS protocol on your website is to safeguard users’ information. That data could be email, password, personal information, or financial details. If data is transmitted in plain text over the HTTP protocol, it is likely that someone can sit between the web browser and the server and read everything. Even worse, they can modify the data. That said, by intercepting a connection, attackers can view everything, such as what the web browser is requesting, as well as data the website is returning. They can stop the data sent by the website and then adjust it before sending it on to the users’ web browser. The worst thing is that the user would never know.
However, all those things aren’t going to happen with HTTPS connections. It makes attackers harder to exploit those details as they are encrypted and mostly impossible to break.
#2. Protect Online Privacy
Besides protecting sensitive data, the HTTPS protocol also helps users to protect their online privacy. When using the regular HTTP protocol, people who have the right permissions can monitor and view what you are doing on the Internet. These people could be your ISP (Internet service provider), or government agencies.
But when you load all websites over HTTPS, your online activities are hidden and can’t be viewed. All those details are encrypted. It’s similar to using a VPN connection, which also assists in encrypting data and protecting online privacy.
If you are using Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Opera browser, we would recommend downloading and installing HTTPS Everywhere plugin. It will check whether the website you want to access supports HTTPS or not. If it’s supported, then it will force your browser to use HTTPS instead of HTTP to protect you from threats. For more information about HTTPS Everywhere, read it here.
#3. Increase Your Rankings
The reason that website owners have moved to HTTPS because Google has considered this secure protocol as a ranking factor. When using HTTPS as default URL, your website may have a chance to get better positions in Google’s search engine.
However, it doesn’t mean that switching to HTTPS will improve your ranking positions immediately. But as a ranking factor alongside many other elements, it will obviously contribute to bringing your positions up.
#4. Make Your Website More Trustworthy
Earlier this year, Google started to beat HTTP websites by marking them with a “Not Secure” tag in the address bar. This is a bad sign and hurts the user experience as users may worry about using your website. Put yourself in the same situation, and we are sure you may feel the same.
By enabling HTTPS, there will be a “Secure” tag in the address bar, which tells users that this website is safe to visit. This is a good chance to build the popularity of your website through the brand name.
What do you think about using HTTPS? Is it worth upgrading?