What is the Difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
Google is always concerned about its user’s experience and constantly they are making many changes to their algorithm by keeping it in mind.
After the emergence of e-commerce culture, Google has become more cautious about the user’s data.
On June 2014, Google has insisted all its users to switch their website to HTTPS Protocol in order to boost their Google ranking.
As a global leader of search engines, people tend to follow what Google says. Here no one asked themselves what is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.
Before switching your website from HTTP to HTTPS it is really important to know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. You should ask the question, is it suitable for my company?
And you should know how it helps with Google ranking?
Difference between HTTP and HTTPS: Knowing the Basics
It doesn’t matter who you are; You might be a developer or you might be a website owner, a good online experience always depends on a trusted third party who provides good encryption.
We must know who we should choose for the service we need in order to ensure a better online experience.
In order to identify how good your third party is and to know why to google help these website elements.
You should first learn the difference between HTTP and HTTPS from the basic level so that it gets better for you to choose your online services among this large crowded service provide.
Let us start the journey of HTTP Vs HTTPS by understanding HTTP-
HTTP: Hyper Text Transfer Protocol
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a system that helps in transmitting and receiving information across the internet.
HTTP is an “Application layer protocol,” which mainly focuses on how information is delivered to the user. Anyway, this option does not really care how the data gets from point A to Point B.
HTTP is said to be “stateless,” Which ultimately means that it never tries to remember anything about the previous web session.
The most important benefit of being stateless is that there are fewer data to send which means that the speed of transfer is good.
The main issue of HTTP is that it is not secured, as HTTP mainly focuses on the speed, while misses out the most important aspect of the online experience that is the security.
So while using HTTP the possibility of user’s data getting corrupted is high.
So Google thought of coming up with a more secure protocol, which is the HTTPS.
That is why the next step of HTTPS vs HTTP is understanding HTTPS and its significance-
HTTPS: Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol
HTTPS also was known as “Secured HTTP”, the name itself resembles its main purpose. Yes, it was developed for ensuring security and authorized transactions.
While exchanging confidential information it needs to be secured in order to prevent the data from unauthorized access and HTTPS makes this happen.
In various aspects, HTTPS is similar to HTTP as it follows the same basic protocols. The HTTP and HTTPS clients like web browsers establish a connection to a server on a standard port.
The advantage of using HTTPS is that it offers an additional layer of security because it uses SSL to transfer the data.
This made the internet users feel that they are using a secured portal for communicating and also for transferring their personal data.
And with the trust of no one other than the two, the user can see the data getting transferred and the internet became a more personal space for many users
Considering the intents and purposes; HTTPS is a secured version of HTTP.
To get into the technical aspects, the primary difference between HTTPS vs HTTP is that HTTPs uses TCP Port 443 by default, so HTTP and HTTPS are two different types of communication.
HTTPS work along with another protocol called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) in order to transport data safely as it is the key point Google is always concerned about.
Technically, SSL is a transparent protocol, which needs a bit of interaction from the end users when establishing a secure session.
In case of a browser the SSL secured sites are shown with a padlock or in the case of extended validation SSL, where the address bar displays both padlock and a green bar.
Keep in mind, HTTP and HTTPS do not care how the data reaches its destination, in contrast with this SSL don’t care what the data looks like (like HTTP does).
This is how HTTPS really offers the best of both ends to the users: Caring about what the users see through their eyes and also having an extra secured layer while transferring data from point A to point B.
People always confuse their mind by interchanging HTTPS and SSL. To clarify this, HTTPS is secure because it uses SSL to move the data.
Difference between HTTP and HTTPS: What Google thinks about HTTPS?
It is not a surprise that Google prefers sites that are trusted and certified. Google is always concerned about providing a better and safer experience for its users.
This is due to the fact that users can be guaranteed that the sites that they use are encrypting their information for the extra level of security.
However, you should know that getting a certification is a more involved task, this is why it allows the sites for higher ranking.
HTTP Vs HTTPS: Breaking Down the Certification
When a site tries to get through the process of getting the certification the issuer of the certificate becomes a trusted third party.
When your browser finds a secure website it will check the information in the certificate to verify whether the site is actually what it claims to be.
So, if one knows about the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, one can easily buy stuff from the site confidentially and this leads to the start of businesses in electronic commerce.
As the era of e-commerce is growing the HTTPS sites are more preferable for securing user’s data.
This certification will allow the user to make a trusted purchase online by giving their credit card information to the site knowing that all their personal data are encrypted and secured.
For a deep understanding of the process, the data transferred through HTTPS is secured with Transport layer security protocol (TLC), which will provide three special layers of protection.
(i) Encryption: The data transferred will be encrypted to keep it
(ii) Data Integrity: No one can corrupt or modify the data while transferring without being noticed.
(iii) Authentication: It proves that your user is communicating with an intended website.
Google says that the website with HTTPS has small ranking benefits when it comes to HTTPS vs HTTP due to its security aspects. Hence HTTPS will have an additional SEO benefit to your site.
According to search engine land, Google said that initial tests on HTTPS showed “positive results” when it comes to relevancy and ranking in google search results.
In the same article, they have mentioned that Google might strengthen the signal or might give more ranking benefits to HTTPS websites because they want to make sure that online users are secured.
HTTP vs HTTPS: HTTPS as a Ranking Factor
Researches showed that there was an increase in encrypted URL in the year 2013 but it wasn’t until the official announcement of Google, after which we began noticing the sites getting affected by this ranking factor.
Considering their user based algorithm updates, google preference for the trusted site is not much surprising.
If the user is looking for a secured site experience, when it comes to HTTP vs HTTPS, they will always prefer HTTPS over HTTP
Difference between HTTP & HTTPS: How HTTPS helps with SEO
We know that HTTPS offers better security, so there is a possibility of putting your website in Google’s Good graces.
When Google provides a good grace to your website, your website will be located more often in the search results than ever. Apart from that, there are some additional SEO benefits when it comes to HTTPS.
Here are a few reasons for you to consider using HTTPS on your site
(i) It will increase your google ranking
(ii) It helps in preserving referer data
(iii) It is more secure and more private
1. Increased Google Ranking
This is quite obvious, as we said earlier Google has confirmed that there will be a slight ranking boost for HTTPS sites, which is for sure a notable difference between HTTP and HTTPS.
Like many of the ranking signal, it is very hard to isolate on its own, but still, we should keep this in mind. On the positive side, the value of switching to HTTPS is increasing over time.
Google always tries to show the secured sites in its search results.
2. Referrer Data
When traffic passes to the HTTPS site, all the referral information is kept preserved.
This is not like the traffic passing through an HTTP site, and also it is stripped away and look through is so “direct”.
Hence all the referrer data gets secured and encrypted while it is received or transferred. That is why paying heed to this difference between HTTP and HTTPs is very important for you to get better Google results.
3. Security & Privacy
HTTPS will increase the security which will help in achieving your SEO goals and help your website in many ways like.
(i) It verifies whether the server is connecting to the website which is supposed to connect.
(ii) It gives prevention from tampering by third parties.
(iii) It will help to make your site more secure for the users.
(iv) It always encrypts everything like URLs, Communications Browsing histories and also Credit card number.
This is again a very significant difference between HTTP and HTTPS that influences you to opt for HTTPS to get better SEO optimized existence.
Is there any SEO facts to remember while switching to HTTPS?
You really don’t need to be more concerned about switching your site from HTTP to HTTPS by keeping SEO in mind.
Google just insists on the webmasters that it has been safe for many years. Anyways, you should be going through the motions to ensure that your traffic didn’t get affected.
Make sure you communicate with Google that you have moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS.
Google has provided with a certain set of tips for the practice of switching to HTTPS:
(i) Set your mind on choosing your certification: single, multi-domain, or a wildcard certificate.
(ii) Use 2048-bit Key certificates.
(iii) Use proper URLs for the resources which are on the same secure domain.
(iv) Use protocol relative URL for other domains also.
(v) Don’t prevent your website from being crawled by robots.
(vi) Allow indexing to your page for the better access for the search engine and avoid no index robots meta tag.
Google also updated google webmaster tools for better use of HTTPS sites and reporting them.
Always monitor your HTTP to HTTPS immigration carefully in your google analytics software and within google webmaster tools.
How to switch from HTTP to HTTPs?
I hope that by now you must have understood the basics of http and https. It will clear to you why switching to https from http has become really important as there are a number of reasons to that. Since Google has clearly stated that it will promote HTTPs sites hence if you are still not switching to HTTPs then you might loose the SEO benefits. So how do you do it? Let us learn that in detail –
- In order to switch from HTTP to HTTPs you need a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. First of all you will have to figure out the type of SSL certificate that you want to get. Once you are clear with that purchase that particular SSL certificate from the hosting company.
- Once you have got the SSL certificate, now is the time to install and configure this SSL certificate onto the hosting account of your website. It is simply like installing a new application in your mobile phone.
- It is always advised to play safe. Since you have invested a lot of time and hard work in creating and setting up your website, we suggest you to take a complete backup of it. If anything goes wrong you will not loose the data and your hard work will not go in vain.
- Now is the time to update links. Once you have installed the certificate and you have the backup of your website, update hard internal links to HTTPs from HTTP. During this process you will also have to update your sitemap, hence do not miss that in any case.
- Now you will have to check your templates on the website and update referernces to scripts and images. These are the necessary steps, hence do not miss any.
- After you have updated your template as well, it is the time to work on robots.txt file. You need to update that as well in order to ensure that it includes the updated sitemap.
- Change external links to HTTPs as well and update the SSL settings of your CDN (Content Delivery Network).
- Links used in the marketing automation tools along with email links must be updated as well. Landing pages and paid search links must also be updated to HTTPs.
- You need to ensure that all your old-URLs are also updated to HTTPs and ensure that all pages of your website are implemented with 301 redirects.
- Now is the time to enable HSTS, this will guide your browser to use HTTPs. Enable OCSP stapling which is to allow the server to verify the security certificate.
Now your website is fully converted from HTTP to HTTPs that will empower you use SEO optimized secure site.
Some More Tips from Google Support
Some other major tips to have in your mind for the better Google experience are –
(i) Avoid Irrelevant redirects
(ii) Provide Errors for deleted or merged content
(iii) Ensure correct google search console settings
Along with google support resources, you should also read about the introduction of HTTPS vs HTTP and some tips on changing over to SSL/HTTPS before getting started.
After understanding what Google requires from you and using the tools provided by Google you can create a better site and provide a better experience to the users.
Google will always support you while you follow the words and instructions of google.
We have talked about what is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS & various types of aspects which are involved in the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. So as a conclusion, we can decide that switching your site to HTTPS will help you in keeping good graces with Google.
In addition to the SEO benefits that we have seen, HTTPS is so far the most secure systems for your website to operate. Security to your website and your user’s valuable data is the most important aspect that you should consider while switching your website from HTTP to HTTPS.
HTTPS is not only good for securing the data, but it is also helpful for referrer data and other SEO strategies.
While we look into the issue and considering the future actions of Google, it’s really important to switch to HTTPS in order to work better along with Google.
Kindly let us know how it affects on your website after switching over to HTTPS.
Joining the SEO course will help you learn the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, so you can have a well optimized online presence on the web.