Thanks to the exponential rise in number of cyber attacks over the recent past, there is a definite shift to greater website security by adopting multiple measures. Moving to HTTPs encryption is one of the most prominent security measures are being implemented by security conscious website owners.
Knowing the basics
Before we discuss the most relevant benefits of HTTPs encryption, we need to have a clear understanding in terms of differences between HTTP and HTTPs. Trust is an important aspect for a sound online session such as simple browsing to a more complex and sensitive process of online payment transaction.
Encrypted sites are viewed as secure and trustworthy destinations by visitors and also by the most popular search engine Google. It is hardly surprising that Google prefers HTTPs sites while assigning page ranks leading to better SEO advantages.
Internet is the vast platform that facilitates information exchange by way of reception and transmission of digital information.
The application layer protocol HTTP only focuses on the final presentation of data without getting involved in the actual process of data transfer. Statelessness is one of the most striking attributes of Hypertext Transfer Protocol, abbreviated as HTTP for simplicity. It boosts the transmission speed and improves user experience since it has no role in remembering any historical data.
HTTP is the most frequently used protocol for transmitting and accessing html pages as well as a plethora of other resources that can also be accessed through this protocol. HTTP has been supporting majority of websites that do not handle information of sensitive nature including payment data, user credentials, and health records of individuals just to name a few.
Before understanding the differences between HTTP and HTTPs, we need to bear in mind that except for the additional layer of security, both share same purpose as well as intent.
Secure HyperText Transfer or HTTPs protocol is specifically aimed at supporting transmission of web-transactions that are important as well as secured. The main aim of creating HTTPs protocol was to authorize transactions for security purpose by maintaining close resemblance to HTTP in terms of several basic protocols. HTTPs adds a security layer by leveraging Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for data migration.
Google assigns special status to HTTPs protocol because unlike HTTP, HTTPs operates in unison with SSL for secure transmission of data. Both protocols are not involved in actual process of data transmission. In essence, HTTPs provides greater security for transportation of sensitive data than HTTP.
Progress of HTTPs
During the initial stage, HTTPs was more appreciated for its ability to protect login credentials of users, payment transactions, and exchange of sensitive email communications. However after few years use of HTTPs spread across a plethora of applications that demanded a secure environment for exchange of personal data or private online interactions between two remotely located individuals.
This has prompted Google to encourage use of HTTPs on its popular web browser Google Chrome. The results of Google’s attempts are clearly visible in the latest progress reports that show a whopping seventy percent of traffic across Android and Windows enabled devices for HTTPs sites, against just thirty percent traffic which is attributed to sites that use the traditional HTTP protocol.
That’s not all, top hundred sites that are visited most frequently, carry HTTPs tag to assure their visitors that they are browsing in a secure environment. There is a definite shift to adoption of HTTPs protocol for attracting more visitors as well as to make sure that hackers do not tamper with the data that is being exchanged.
On its part, Google is also making sure that implementation of HTTPs becomes a universal phenomenon so that common Internet users perceive the entire World Wide Web as a safe and secure place. By removing positive security highlights of Chrome, Google will make sure that its unmarked version is secure by default.
The effect of Google’s efforts in popularizing HTTPs is visible from July 2018. Google marks all websites that are not HTTPs compliant as ‘not secure’. It is not very difficult to understand ramifications of a ‘not secure’ sign that precedes your URL in the address bar. Majority of visitors and potential customers would feel that they are browsing an unsecure site and consequently would abandon their search.
If your website is engaged in collecting any type of user information, then it becomes your moral duty to reassure users that their information would only be used by authorized entity and for the intended purpose only. This is the exact reason why Google is now marking HTTPs enabled sites for better ranking positions than their not secure counterparts.
There are several benefits of making your site secure through use of HTTPs protocol in addition to higher page rankings. Encryption of data is essential for the process of securing it from hackers who will not be able to tamper with information during its exchange.