How Does The Performance of Your Website Change With HTTP VS HTTPS?IT, Technology September 30th 2021
Table of Contents
HTTP vs HTTPS: A Brief Introduction
The World Wide Web (WWW) as we know it uses both HTTP and HTTPS protocols to send and receive data over the internet. But, what are the differences between HTTP vs HTTPS?
The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a protocol for sending and receiving data between a web server and a client. This protocol is used to send almost any type of file, including images, text, and video. The HTTP web server helps to connect with web browsers including Chrome, Mozilla, IE, etc.
Here’s how it works
The HTTP exchanges data in the simple text between the above-mentioned browsers and the server. You can view the information transferred if you have access to the network where it is transmitted. As a result, it’s quite probable that pushy advertising, security agencies, etc. are scrutinizing or storing this information somewhere along with this communication protocol.
To curb this problem of a security breach, HTTPS was created.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and it’s a protocol for establishing secure internet connections. Here, a secure certificate, known as an SSL, encrypts communications between the client-side browser and the webserver. This keeps the hackers from tampering with sensitive data and information.
Here’s how it works
To begin, the client and server must establish a connection using HTTPS. Then, while safeguarding the clear text HTTP communications from eavesdroppers, send them over it. As a result, your communication with another party via a public network, such as the Internet, reaches the intended recipient undamaged.
So basically, what we have gathered so far in this ‘HTTPS vs HTTP fiasco is that HTTPS is a secure version of the already existing HTTP. Additionally, there are many more functionalities that distinct the two protocols. Let us explore an overview of both.
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What is HTTP?
The whole backbone of the internet is HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It’s the protocol that allows web pages to be processed, rendered, and sent from the server to the client browser.
HTTP is the primary technique for transferring data from web pages across a network. Web pages are stored on servers and delivered to client computers when the user requests them.
Because it delivers on-demand connections to browsers that initiate them, it is considered a stateless system.
Even though HTTP is the protocol used to display the majority of the internet, Google in 2014, advised sites to switch to HTTPS. In fact, Google said that as an incentive for moving over, it would give HTTPS sites a slight ranking boost, thus discouraging sites that did not migrate over by offering an advantage to competitors who did.
Until that time, HTTPS was only employed by e-commerce sites. So, why did Google make this move? Why was HTTPS more preferable than HTTP? To answer that, let us begin by exploring HTTPS.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) is an encrypted variant of HTTP, the most commonly used protocol for sending data over the Internet. Any website that has a lock icon in the address bar is using HTTPS.
HTTPS prevents your browser’s and server’s communication from being intercepted and tampered with by hackers. It does so by employing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, which aids in the establishment of a secure encrypted connection between the server and the browser. SSL prevents any potentially sensitive data from being stolen during transmission.
The great majority of today’s WWW traffic benefits from this degree of confidentiality, reliability, and authenticity.
Since HTTPS is sort of like the successor of HTTP, it is vital to know how it works.
How Does HTTPS Work?
The SSL certificate encrypts the data that users provide to the site, effectively converting it to a code. Even if a third-party attacker was to steal the data being sent between the sender and the receiver, the encryption would prevent them from comprehending it.
Furthermore, HTTPS adds an extra layer of security by using the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. TLS helps ensure data integrity by preventing data from being changed or damaged during transmission. It also provides authentication by proving to your users that they are connecting with the correct website.
HTTP vs HTTPS Difference: Weighing The Perks
Understanding The Terms Better
Imagine passing a written message to your final recipient through a group of people. Now if the message is written in a language readable by everyone along the way, the recipients might benefit, misuse or take advantage of the information. Basically, how they use it will be beyond your control. This describes the working of HTTP.
Now imagine sending the same message in code language that only the final recipient will understand. Even the thought feels safer, right? This is how HTTPS encrypts the data and information that you share online.
While you might have come across the main difference as HTTP vs HTTPS security, however, the list goes way beyond to include HTTP vs HTTPS SEO and performance. To get a comprehensive outlook on both protocols, it is important to list the benefits. Let us begin by exploring the advantages of HTTP, followed by the ones in the HTTPS basket.
7 Advantages of HTTP
Here are seven perks of using HyperText Transfer Protocol:
1. Can Be Accessed Quickly
When a website is loaded for the first time, all of the HTTP pages are saved in the page cache, which is a type of internet cache. As a result, when the page is reloaded, the material loads rapidly.
2. It’s Flexible
HTTP has the ability to download extensions or plugins and show the required data whenever an application requires new capabilities. This ensures flexibility. The best examples of this would be Flash players and Acrobat Reader.
3. Advanced Addressing Mechanism
The HTTP protocol uses a sophisticated addressing system that gives IP addresses to known names so that they can be easily identified on the Internet. When compared to the conventional technique of an IP address followed by a sequence of digits, the public may simply engage with the internet using this method.
4. Easy To Program
HTTP is written in plain text, making it easier to understand and implement than protocols that rely on lookup codes. Data is presented in the form of lines of text instead of variables, thus making the entire process easy and streamlined.
5. Enables A Secure Transmission
Using HTTP 1.0, each file is downloaded separately and then closed. Because the independent connection only lasts during the transfer of a single element of a Web page, the danger of interception during transmission is reduced. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) encrypts HTTP transactions to further increase security.
6. Amazing Search Capabilities
Despite being a basic communications protocol, HTTP allows you to search a database with a single request. This enables the protocol to do SQL searches and deliver results that are easily structured on an HTML page.
7. Speedy Transmission
A Web page is made up of a variety of components, such as text and pictures. Each component needs a varying quantity of storage and download resources. HTTP allows several connections to download different components at the same time, which speeds up the transmission. Each component is also given its own file type, allowing the receiving computer to process them more quickly and effectively.
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5 Advantages of HTTPS
Here are the five perks of using HTTPS which helps with SEO and other things:
1. Helps You Build Trust
An HTTPS site encrypts all communication keeping visitors’ sensitive information protected. By keeping passwords, credit card information, browsing history, etc. safe – HTTPS helps you build a sense of trust in visitors. It will help you establish a healthy image and authenticity if you assure people that their information is protected while they browse your website. The same goes for the downloads, subscriptions, and purchases they make on your site. Obtaining leads and closing sales are also aided by this.
2. Helps Boost Website Rankings ( SEO)
As mentioned earlier, Google itself has encouraged HTTPS over HTTP by incentivizing the change through a minor hike in rankings. HTTPS can significantly help in enhancing your website’s rankings over time as users will be more inclined to browse through secure sites.
3. Provides Impeccable Security
This is an obvious one. HTTPS was introduced to make websites more secure and safe for users. In the case of HTTPS, the SSL/TLS certificate protects data while it is being transmitted between your website and the client.
Furthermore, if you implement a certificate to authenticate your identity, it will provide assurance of your site’s legitimacy, allowing consumers to believe that their data is safe. This distinguishes your website from those of phishing sites. This factor also helps in SEO as users will want to stick longer on a site that seems safe and authentic.
4. Helps Preserve Referrer Data (SEO)
Using an HTTPS site improves the effectiveness of Google Analytics. This is because HTTPS sites keep the security details of the website that referred you, but HTTP sites do not. Referral sources will display as “direct traffic” on HTTP sites. This alone offers HTTPS a significant SEO benefit.
5. Qualifies You For AMP Pages
Google introduced AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) as a means to load information onto mobile devices considerably more quickly. To provide a better mobile experience for smartphone and tablet users, AMP content is prominently displayed in Google’s SERPs.
HTTP vs HTTPS Difference: What Are The Downsides?
As fruitful as both systems are, HTTP and HTTPS have their disadvantages. Let us delve into them individually in the section below.
3 Disadvantages Of Implementing Hypertext Transfer Protocol
1. Lack Of Security
The most significant disadvantage of an HTTP website is that it does not provide secure communication as the data is not encrypted and is transmitted in plaintext format. Your data can be hacked, stolen, or altered by intruders when utilizing an HTTP site.
2. Lack Of Privacy
There is one big drawback to using an HTTP connection: data sent via an HTTP connection is not encrypted, putting you in danger of third-party hackers obtaining your data. If you are on an HTTP page, any credit card details or sensitive information should not be provided since any information transferred over this network via HTTP is not private.
3. Does Not Support IoT Devices
HTTP consumes more system resources, resulting in higher power usage. As a result, HTTP is not compatible with IoT devices nowadays since they incorporate wireless sensor networks.
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3 Disadvantages Of Implementing HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure
1. Can Prove Uneconomical
You’ll need to get an SSL certificate after you switch to HTTPS. Despite the fact that many SSL certificates are provided by the website hosting provider, they must be updated annually for a charge – which can be a bit pricey.
Although there are ways to obtain a free SSL certificate, you might want to check the paid options and ensure security.
2. May Render Inaccessible
Some firewalls and proxy systems prevent HTTPS sites from being accessed. This can be both deliberate and unintentional. In the instance of a non-intentional breach, the administrators may have neglected to enable HTTPS access. This can sometimes be done on purpose as a security precaution.
3. Causes Problems In Catching
In HTTPS, some items will have caching issues. Those who were previously cached by the public will not be cached again, hence ISPs will be unable to cache encrypted material. These kinds of issues are more probable on sites that have a large number of visitors. However, these difficulties are mitigated as a result of increased bandwidth.
HTTP vs HTTPS – A Word Of Advice For Website Owners
As a website owner, you value website traffic the most. What if one of these protocols can help you get more relevant traffic? HTTPS, by virtue of its secure nature, attracts more traffic by performing better. This argument is also supported by Google. Thus, you are likely to get better google analytics results if your website starts with HTTPS.
When someone visits your website, the most crucial thing for you to do is to make sure they trust your website and feel secure. A trustworthy website might mean more traction, hence, more business. While the quality of your offerings is important, inculcating a sense of security in your users is even more important.
If you are paying for something online, pause! First, make sure that the web address says “HTTPS”. If it doesn’t we highly discourage you to share any of your credit/debit card or netbanking information. The reason is simple, while your transaction might go through, your personal information can be compromised.
4. Impulse Clicks
More internet adoption also means more cybercrime. Sometimes, you click on something fishy by accident. Can’t blame you, the hackers make things look highly genuine. Damage can still be controlled as long as you don’t share your personal information. As a thumb rule, no sharing of sensitive information if the website doesn’t feel secure.
Interesting Facts Impacting HTTP vs HTTPS
HTTP/2 is an improved version of HTTP that allows sending more than one file at the same time – a term is commonly known as multiplexing. Additionally, HTTP/2 encrypts data just like HTTPS. Hence, HTTP/2 is definitely an improved version of HTTP.
The catch here is that HTTP/2 only functions over a secure encrypted connection such as HTTPS.
Relevance To Context
If you are mostly concerned about your landing pages’ Google rankings and your website’s performance in Google analytics, moving to HTTPS is only the first step.
In the future what’ll matter the most is how relevant your content is to the context. There are multiple tools that can help you prepare better.
Stats About HTTP vs HTTPS
Majority of the online buyers don’t complete their online purchase if the website is not secure. So an increasing number of websites are moving to HTTPS to offer a more secure experience.
Convinced that you need to move your HTTP to HTTPS, but don’t know how?
Impact On SEO When Changing From HTTP To HTTPS
As per Google’s transparency report released in January 2021, more than 80% of the websites opened in Chrome used HTTPS. This is a big achievement and reflects the widespread adoption of HTTPS by an increasing number of businesses. The non-adoption of HTTPS can impact your website negatively.
Once you move to HTTPS, make sure that your website is being crawled by Google, and that you’ve added 301 redirections and updated your sitemaps and robots.txt. If everything is in place, you can expect the following impact on SEO when changing from HTTP to HTTPS:
1. Better Ranking
HTTPS helps visitors to feel secure, so they are more likely to click on your website. You’ll reach a wider set of audience who’ll find your information relevant. This in turn, increases the ranking of your website in the long term.
2. Increased Traffic
As you’ll be able to reach a wider audience who’ll trust the security of your website, the traffic on your website is bound to increase.
3. Higher Conversion Rate
Increased traffic increases your chances of a higher rate of conversion. More website visitors will stay on your page longer. In the end, it is a numbers game. If more people stay on the website longer, the higher their chances of conversion.
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HTTP vs HTTPS: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is HTTP and HTTPS?
A. HTTP is a protocol for exchanging data between a web server and a client. HTTPS is an encrypted variant of HTTP that exchanges data over the internet securely.
Q. Why is HTTP not secure?
A. HTTP doesn’t encrypt the data that is exchanged over the internet. That’s why it is relatively less secure as compared to HTTPS.
Q. Why do we use HTTPS instead of HTTP?
A. HTTPS ensures the security of information exchanged between the web server and the client. So HTTPS is preferred instead of HTTP. Some web browsers also prefer HTTPS and thus using HTTPS can influence your SEO and ranking.
Q. Is HTTPS really secure?
A. HTTPS encrypts data being exchanged online, so it adds security. However, having HTTPS is not enough. So you can’t solely rely on HTTPS and need to take other precautions to protect the data of your clients. Make sure to partner with a safe web hosting provider, regularly backup your data, and check if you can add any security plugins to your website.
Q. What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
A. The main difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that of data encryption. While HTTP exchanges information over the internet in plain text, HTTPS secures the data by encrypting it so hackers can’t decipher it.
Q. What if we use HTTP in the link instead of HTTPS?
A. Many websites use HTTP, but if you have an eCommerce website or a website that collects and exchanges data of website users, you should prefer HTTPS. If you use HTTP, your customer’s data can be compromised.
Q. How do HTTP and HTTPS work?
A. HTTP and HTTPS are both protocols that help with transmitting information and data online. While HTTP transfers plain text, HTTPS encrypts data while transferring.
Q. What are all the steps to upgrade from HTTP to HTTPS?
A. To upgrade from HTTP to HTTPS, follow these 5 steps:
- Backup all your data
- Plan your migration when your website is not expecting a lot of traffic
- Find the right web host provider to help you migrate your website
- Redirect old website to the new website
- Update all internal links to the HTTPS links
Q. Is HTTPS good for SEO?
A. HTTPS may or may not be good for SEO. But not having HTTPS is bad for SEO. The absence of HTTPS affects the rank of the website better and impacts the traffic on the website as many web browsers prefer websites using HTTPS.
Q. Does change from HTTP to HTTPS affect SEO?
A. Changing from HTTP to HTTPS might affect SEO in the short term
Q. Does HTTP hurt SEO?
A. Web browsers usually prefer HTTPS. So using HTTP can hurt SEO as the ranking might get affected. Also, if the website uses HTTP, the visitors might not stay on the website, which affects the bounce rate and thus the page authority.
Q. Is using HTTPS a bad SEO practice?
A. Using HTTPS is actually a good SEO practice, as Google officially supports websites using HTTPS. Hence, HTTPS receives more traction leading to a higher conversion rate. So, using HTTPS is not a bad SEO practice but a good SEO practice.
HTTP vs HTTPS: Our Verdict
Knowing the roles, advantages, and disadvantages of HTTPS vs HTTP, we can make a fair assumption about which option is best for your website.
HTTPS seems like a more reasonable choice in today’s data-driven and SEO-dominated world.
It is also a world of hackers and intruders, so security and privacy have to be of utmost importance.
For a variety of reasons, you want your website to be safe. Not only will you want to safeguard potentially sensitive information, but you’ll also want to ensure that your visitors are at ease when exploring your site. This is where HTTPS helps.
Now coming to SEO aspects of HTTP vs HTTPS:
HTTPS has a significantly positive impact on SEO. This helps your website generate traffic, gather leads, and place yourself on the map.
HTTPS is a secure and authentic mechanism for your website, and these days, the most needed.