Protocols: HTTP vs HTTPS

What’s the difference between HTTP vs HTTPS? HTTPS is HTTP — just the secure version. HTTPS follows the same protocols as HTTP — the browser begins a connection to a server on a standard port. The additional layer of HTTPS security uses Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, to transport data. HTTPS exercises TCP Port 443 by default, so they use two separate communications. 

A protocol is that “http” or “https” preceding your domain name. Google recommends that all websites have a secure protocol (the “s” in “https” stands for “secure”). To ensure that your URLs are using the https:// protocol instead of http://, you must obtain an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. SSL certificates are used to encrypt data. They ensure that any data passed between the web server and browser of the searcher remains private. As of July 2018, Google Chrome displays “not secure” for all HTTP sites, which could cause these sites to appear untrustworthy to visitors and result in them leaving the site.

HTTP vs HTTPS: HTTPS as a Ranking Factor

Even years ago, research showed an increase in encrypted URLs. However, it wasn’t until the official announcement that we began to see sites affected by this factor. Considering their user-based algorithm updates, Google’s preference for trusted sites isn’t surprising. If users are guaranteed to have a secure site experience, the answer to HTTP vs HTTPS becomes simple — they will prefer HTTPS to HTTP.

SEO Advantages of Switching to HTTPS

If you’re following Google’s recommendations, deciding on HTTP vs HTTPS is also easy – switching to HTTPS will benefit you and the security of your site. There are also some additional SEO benefits for you to consider: Increased Rankings Not a major boost, but as part of an overall strategy with other ranking factors, it’s a safe bet. In addition, we usually see that the impact of Google’s recommendations and algorithm increase over time. Learn more about Google page rank. Referral Data If you’re exploring Google Analytics for your HTTP site, the traffic passing through referral sources can appear as “direct” traffic. Through an HTTPS site, the security of the referring domain is preserved. This makes the HTTP vs HTTPS decision even easier to make. Security and Privacy Security benefits your overall goals in a few ways:

  • Authenticates the website and server communication
  • Avoids damage by third parties
  • Encrypts data and communication, like browsing history and credit card information

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