Nowadays, many people use the Internet for browsing, online shopping, online banking and many other activities. All of these activities require the transmission of sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers and personal information. To ensure the security of this information, HTTPS is used.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is a secure version of the HTTP protocol that is used to transfer data between websites and web browsers. HTTPS provides encryption of the data that is transferred between the website and the user, meaning that the data is protected from interception by unauthorised parties.
How does HTTPS work?
HTTPS works by encrypting the data that is sent between the user and the server. This encryption is done using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificates. An SSL/TLS certificate is a type of digital certificate that confirms the identity of the server and provides encryption of the data between the user and the server.
When a user attempts to connect to a server, the web browser sends a request to the server, which sends its SSL/TLS certificates to the browser. The browser verifies the SSL/TLS certificate and establishes a secure connection to the server, allowing data to be transferred securely between the website and the user.
Differences between http and https
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) are two communication protocols used on the Internet to transfer information between servers and web browsers.
The main difference between HTTP and HTTPS is the way information is sent. HTTP transmits information in open text, which means that the data sent between the server and the web browser is easily readable by anyone with access to the network. HTTPS, on the other hand, uses SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer / Transport Layer Security), which provides encryption of the information, making it impossible for third parties to read the transmitted data.
Another important difference is how the protocols handle the authenticity of the site. With HTTP, there is no site authenticity, which means that anyone can create a fake site and impersonate another site to scam users. With HTTPS, sites must have an SSL/TLS certificate that certifies their identity and authenticity. This way, users can be sure that they are communicating with a genuine site.
Another important difference between HTTP and HTTPS is the way in which cookies are handled. With HTTP, cookies are sent in open text, which means that they can be intercepted by third parties and used to track user activity. With HTTPS, cookies are encrypted and protected from interception.
Advantages of implementing https
- Data security: One of the most important advantages of implementing https is data security. Data encryption ensures that the information sent between the user and the server is encrypted and cannot be read by third parties. This means that hackers cannot intercept data such as passwords, login details or banking information. Data security is a priority for any website, especially if it processes sensitive data.
- Improved position in search results: Another benefit of implementing https is that it improves a website’s position in search results. Google has been promoting secure websites for a long time and is more inclined to index https sites. This means that https pages tend to rank higher in search results than http pages. Implementing https can therefore help to attract more visitors and increase website traffic.
- Increased user trust: Websites using the https protocol evoke greater user trust. In an age of constant attacks on user privacy, as well as the exploitation of data by various companies and organisations, more and more people are relying on security and privacy. Implementing https can help to increase user trust in a website and attract new customers.
- Protection against man-in-the-middle attacks: Encrypting data using https prevents man-in-the-middle attacks, which involve third parties intercepting and modifying transmitted data. With data encryption, hackers are unable to intercept and read transmitted data, preventing such attacks.
- Compliance with security regulations and standards: The implementation of https is required by many data security standards and regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Using the https protocol can help you comply with these standards and regulations.
How do you implement the https protocol on your website?
- Choose an SSL/TLS certificate – to implement HTTPS, you need an SSL/TLS certificate. You can choose from a number of SSL/TLS certificates on the market, which vary in authentication level and certificate type.
- Choose an SSL/TLS certificate provider – there are many SSL/TLS certificate providers, such as Let’s Encrypt, Comodo, Symantec or DigiCert, which offer different levels of service and prices.
- Back up your website – before making changes to your website, back up your website so that you can restore the previous version of your website in case of problems.
- Configure the server – next, configure the server to support HTTPS. This requires installing an SSL/TLS certificate on the server and performing the appropriate configurations in the server files.
- Update links – once HTTPS has been implemented, ensure that all links on the site point to URLs starting with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’.
- Test the site – after implementing HTTPS, it is a good idea to test the website to ensure that all features are working correctly and there are no errors.
For more information on how to implement a free SSL certificate: https://www.seogroup.pl/darmowy-certyfikat-ssl-flexible-od-cloudflare/
To ensure full security for users, a number of steps need to be taken, such as:
- Using SSL/TLS certificates from trusted providers and updating them regularly.
- Using the HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) protocol, which enforces the use of HTTPS and protects against attacks using untrusted certificates.
- Using additional layers of protection such as user verification, firewall, end-to-end encryption and more.