What Does HTTPS Actually Do?

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Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the standard protocol used for communication over the Internet.

Development of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) was initiated by Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist and the inventor of the World Wide Web, in as early as 1989. For nearly 18 years, it has been the most popular application protocol used for communication on the Internet. However, communication over HTTP alone isn’t as safe as it used to be.

Any unprotected HTTP request can potentially reveal information about users. This information can be intercepted, spied on, and even manipulated by hackers. Therefore, an increasing number of websites are now implementing HTTPS, which was developed to protect the integrity and confidentiality of data over the Internet.

HTTPS is a form of encryption that keeps site visitors’ information safe. It has been known nearly as long as the World Wide Web itself. Nevertheless, historically, HTTPS connection was primarily used for payment transactions by websites that dealt with money.

In the course of time, more websites of various types began to use it, aiming at securing their users’ accounts and keeping their identity and communications private.

HTTPS pages use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols to encrypt communications. As a result, servers and clients still communicate with each other using the same HTTP, but over a secure SSL/TLS connection that encrypts their requests and connections.

With an HTTPS connection, all communication between a server and a client is securely encrypted, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept, manipulate, or steal information from your server.

3 Benefits of Moving to HTTPS

Switching your site to HTTPS provides you and your site’s visitors with multiple benefits. Here are three.

1. Security & Privacy

As mentioned previously, the main advantage of HTTPS is that it makes your website more secure for your users.

HTTPS is especially important on web pages where users provide their highly sensitive information (e.g., card information and other personal details).

When visitors are interacting with your site, they expect a secure and private online experience.

2. Trust

Imagine that a user lands on your site and then sees a security warning message from Google. In fact, if a server pretends to be on HTTPS, but its certificate doesn’t match, then most browsers will display a warning behavior.

In this scenario, the user is likely to click the back button because they can’t trust your website. As a result, this can damage your site’s authority and reputation.

HTTPS helps your site gain a higher level of trust with your users.

3. Referral Data

Google Analytics becomes even more useful when you move your site to HTTPS. Unlike HTTP, with HTTPS, the security data of the website that referred you is saved.

Anna Crowe points out that when traffic comes to your HTTP site, it appears to be “direct” in your analytics report, which isn’t helpful. On the other hand, when traffic comes through your HTTPS site, your referral traffic data is saved. This means you can figure out where your traffic is actually coming from.

Conclusion

By now, you should have an idea of whether you should migrate your site to HTTPS. However, one thing is certain: In the fast-evolving SEO world, it’s better to be proactive and keep up with the changes.

You can find more facts and data in the full research.

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