HTTP and HTTPS are both forms of communication between web browsers and web services. They allow users to communicate with web services efficiently and safely. But, there are differences between HTTP and HTTPS. Some of these differences are small, while others are bigger. Regardless, we will discuss HTTP vs HTTPS and their quirks in this blog.
HTTP vs HTTPS
When discussing HTTP vs HTTPS, security is always brought up. In 2021, users have to be careful when browsing on the internet. You don’t know what can be found on some websites. Also, we are discussing HTTP vs HTTPS, but for the most part, they are very similar. So, what is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? Both stand for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, with the S in the latter standing for Secure. Security is one of the main differences between the two types of protocols. Let’s go over why security is such a big difference.
Internet Security: A Brief History
The internet has been around for quite a while now. And of course, it has had security too. Even today, some people are skeptical about your online security. Back in the 1980s, the biggest security issue to the internet was the reading of confidential information. Compare that to today. Today, we fear that someone will gain access to our social media, or our financial information. Countries around the world fear that someone will access confidential information that could start a war. We aren’t as worried if someone wants to read a document they don’t have access to. But, that is how internet security began.
The 1990s is when internet security had begun to really evolve. Viruses were becoming common. SSL 2.0, the first released version of SSL, came out in 1995. We will go over SSL more in detail later on. In the 90s, emails were becoming very common. Imagine a world where you would be unsure whether your email would be compromised or not. Well, before internet encryption and security, that world was a reality. But, of course, not as many emails were sent back then compared to today. While today we have more internet access and pages than ever, we also have so many viruses. Which is why we will go over the importance of having a secure website for your visitors.
What is the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?
What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? It is security! HTTP comes unsecure. Why is HTTP not secure then? It is because it comes in plaintext. Anyone has access and the ability to read it. The quickest way to secure it is through an SSL certificate. An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate allows your data to be encrypted until it reaches its destination. SSL certificates have to be requested from providers. There are free and paid SSL certificates.
The choice is up to you, as the difference is that paid ones have more security options. Other information that you should know about SSL is that it secures online payments. For those doing e-commerce, this is important. You do not want customers to have their information stolen. So, what is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? Well, you have it now, it is security. Of course, there are other differences. Let’s discuss them next.
Another Difference between HTTP and HTTPS
Another difference between HTTP and HTTPS is the TLS that it uses. Yes, TLS is very closely related to SSL, and is even considered its successor. What is TLS? TLS stands for transport layer security. It can also be used for email and messaging, to provide them with extra security. Just like SSL, a TLS certificate has to be acquired first in order to be applied. Let’s discuss how to generate a TLS certificate.
Generate a TLS certificate
This difference between HTTP and HTTPS is an important one. Security is becoming more and more emphasized for software. Acquiring a self signed TLS certificate is the first step in your site’s security. In order to do this, you will need some familiarity with writing code. This is because we will be opening up the root directory of your site. Once you open up the root directory, you will need to place some code. Once you place the code in your root, you will be prompted for more information. That decision is up to you. A self signed certificate is not public, so that information is not needed. If you decide to have your certificate be approved by someone else, then you may need additional code. Back up your certificate before finishing with it.
The other way to view code from chrome is through the tools and holding down CTRL+U. This code won’t be helpful though; you are just viewing it. It is a good way to see what code is on your site.
Is HTTP Secure?
As we have just discussed another difference between HTTP and HTTPS, we have noticed a common factor. That factor is security. And we should ask ourselves, is HTTP secure? Well, it depends. Once again, it all depends on what you are doing. If you are doing casual web browsing, you will be fine. The major change comes when you start entering personal information somewhere. While most sites won’t be experiencing a data breach, it is still possible when you enter your personal info.
If you are on an e-commerce site, it may be structured differently. The browsing pages of the site may be HTTP. But, once you get to the payment page, it may be HTTPS. In this case, you are safe. The owner of the site understands that security is important, and has placed an SSL or TLS certificate where necessary.
Some e-commerce sites are very prominent. You know them today as Amazon, and eBay. When they started out in the nineties, two factors related to our topic helped them grow. One of those factors is security. In the early days of the internet, an e-commerce site could easily be targeted. They had security that ensured the safety of their customers. The other is the integration of their websites to e-commerce. Today, a new e-commerce site can apply both methods for success. It can integrate its website to adapt to online sales. Integration, plus security can lead a site to better results.
More Facts About HTTP vs HTTPS
While we have been discussing HTTP vs HTTPS, one thing you may have noticed is that it is missing in the URL. That’s right. URLs no longer require there to be an HTTP or an HTTPS at the start. But, browsers still require it. The way you can tell that a site has HTTPS security is if you see a lock next to the URL. If there is no lock, there is no HTTPS.
Another interesting fact about HTTP vs HTTPS is the error codes. We have all gotten the famous Error 404. In fact, 404 is the error that means the site does not exist. There are roughly 50 different codes that a site can give you for an error. They range from internal server error (500) to bad request (400). Usually, you will see a code like this if there is a major connection error. Whether it is HTTP or HTTPS, you can still see this error. HTTPS has no special protection from the error codes.
HTTPS Up Close
We have been doing a lot of talking about HTTP vs HTTPS. Let’s take a closer look at HTTPS once again. We already know that HTTPS secures sensitive information such as credit card information. And, most shoppers prefer not to use unsecured sites. For HTTP vs HTTPS, that’s a major point to the latter. Another big advantage of HTTPS is that it actually improves your site’s SEO. Yes, that’s right, the Google Algorithm likes it when your site has additional security. When you protect your site and your customers, the algorithm will place you higher in ranking. So, with that in mind, don’t forget to secure your website with HTTPS as soon as you can. The benefits are great. The cons are few (if any.)
Overall Importance of Website Security
As we conclude our discussion of internet security, it is important to remember the key difference between HTTP vs HTTPS. A secure web page will always bring back more visitors than one that is unsecured. Also, a secure website will have a higher ranking on the search engine results page. The Google algorithm appreciates sites that have taken the time to add an SSL or TLS certificate. These certificates pay off, as it improves the SEO of your site. Internet security is not something that you should overlook. As a website owner in 2021, you know that your customers expect the best. Especially if you are an e-commerce site. Competition is at an all time high. Overall, internet security for your website can make or break it. Making it a priority will lead you to the top of the search results.
- What is HTTP vs HTTPS?
- What does the S stand for in HTTPS?
- How to secure my website?
- How to tell if a website is secure?
- Is it important to have a secure website?