HTTP vs. HTTPS

No matter what side you are on, being the user of a website or developing your own site, a good online experience tends to involve a trusted third party and good encryption.

In order to understand how to achieve this and better understand why Google favors these website elements (and why you should too), it’s important to first learn the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. Below explains the basics of the two options:

HTTP:

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http) is a system for transmitting and receiving information across the Internet. HTTP is an “application layer protocol,” which ultimately means that its focus is on how information is presented to the user, however, this option doesn’t really care how data gets from Point A to Point B.

It is said to be “stateless,” which means it doesn’t attempt to remember anything about the previous web session. The benefit to being stateless it that there is less data to send, and that means increased speed.

When is HTTP beneficial?

Http is most commonly used to access html pages, and it is important to consider that other resources can be utilized through accessing http. This was the way that most websites who did not keep confidential information (such as credit card information) would setup their websites.

HTTPS:

HTTPS, or “secure http”, was developed to allow authorization and secured transactions. Exchanging confidential information needs to be secured in order to prevent unauthorized access, and https makes this happen. In many ways, https is identical to http because it follows the same basic protocols. The http or https client, such as a Web browser, establishes a connection to a server on a standard port. However, https offers an extra layer of security because it uses SSL to move data.

For all intents and purposes, HTTPS is HTTP, it’s just the secure version.

To get technical, the main difference is that it uses TCP Port 443 by default, so HTTP and HTTPS are two separate communications.

HTTPS works in conjunction with another protocol, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), to transport data safely (which is really the key difference that Google cares about).

Remember, HTTP and HTTPS doesn’t care how the data gets to its destination. In contrast, SSL doesn’t care what the data looks like (like HTTP does).

That is why HTTPS really offers the best of both worlds: Caring about what the user sees visually, but also having an extra layer of security when moving data from point A to point B.

HTTPS and Google’s Opinion:

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Google prefers sites that are trusted and certified.

This is because users can be guaranteed that the site will encrypt their information for that extra level of security. However, you should understand that getting a certificate can be an involved task (which is why it allows for higher ranking benefits).

Breaking it down: When a site owner goes through the motions of obtaining a certificate, the issuer becomes a trusted third party. When your browser recognizes a secure Web site, it uses the information in the certificate to verify that the site is what it claims to be. A user who knows the difference between HTTP and HTTPS can now buy with confidence, and thus, businesses can get started in electronic commerce because of this added layer of credibility.

With the announcement addressed in the beginning, Google is now using HTTPS as a ranking signal. It is pretty clear from data analysis that HTTPS sites have a ranking advantage over http-URLs so this switch will now benefit all companies, confidential information or not.

To get a little bit more detailed, data sent using HTTPS is secured via Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS), which provides three key layers of protection:

  • Encryption: Encrypting the exchanged data to keep it secure.
  • Data Integrity: Data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer without being detected.
  • Authentication:proves that your users communicate with the intended website.

Google claims that websites who use HTTPS will have a small ranking benefit because of these security aspects.

Still, HTTPS sites will only have the benefit of a “very lightweight signal” within the overall ranking algorithm, carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content.

According to Search Engine Land, Google said that based on their initial tests the HTTPS signal showed “positive results” in terms of relevancy and ranking in Google’s search results.

That same article predicted that this may change eventually, and Google may decide to strengthen the signal, or give more ranking benefit to HTTPS sites because they want to keep online users secure.

 

Clarity is proud to have been providing Secure Mobile Application and Web Development Services to North America for many years. With the addition of our Dotmantech division and an extensive team of developers, we will continue to surpass expectations.

Call Clarity at 800-354-4160 today or email us at [email protected] . We are partnered internationally around the globe and we are open seven days a week 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST/EDT. http://claritytg.com/and https://dotmantech.com .

 


 

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