HTTP vs HTTPS

HTTP vs HTTPS: What’s the Difference?

Google is the largest search engine in the market, and it is highly dedicated to making the Internet secure and safe.

Working on that, in 2014, Google recommended sites to install SSL certificates. In 2017, Google started giving the site with SSL certificates an edge in the ranking.

Also, Google’s browser chrome begins to show ‘Insecure’ in the URL for the site that loads on HTTP. 

Right now, SSL and HTTPS has become a necessity for the sites. 

In this article, I will tell you about SSL and HTTPS. We will also explore the comparison between HTTP vs HTTPS.

What is SSL?

SSL certificate

SSL stands for secure sockets layer. It is approved, and standard technology for creating an encrypted link between the web server and a browser to transmit data.

The SSL certificate ensures that the data passed between the web server and browser is secured and stays private.

Without SSL, the site will load on HTTP, which is insecure. Data that transmit over HTTP is not coded, and the content packets are easily readable.

SSL Certificate contains the following information:

  1. Name of the certificate holder
  2. Serial number and expiration date
  3. Certificate holder’s public key
  4. Signature of authority that issues the certificate

With all this information, the SSL coded the data before sending, so only the web server can read it. Then the web server encrypts the files, so only the browser can read it after matching the keys.

What is HTTP?

HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol provides standard and rules to transfer the information across the web. HTTP sets a protocol that web servers, proxies, and browsers have to adapt in order to transmit data from one point to another.

In simpler terms, HTTP allows the communication between different systems so the information can flow seamlessly. The most common use of HTTP is data transfer from a web server to a browser. 

Advantages of HTTP:

  1. HTTP works fine with other protocols on the Internet
  2. HTTP pages are cacheable to browser, and servers. Hence they are quick to load.
  3. HTTP is platform-independent and portable
  4. HTTP is connectionless. There is no session to maintain.
  5. HTTP begins a separate connection for every request-response.
  6. HTTP can send multiple requests parallely.

Disadvantages of HTTP:

  1. HTTP transmits data without encryption; hence, it is without any privacy.
  2. Data files can be fetched in the middle and altered. Therefore it is not secure.
  3. Anyone who can fetch the data packages can get the username and password.
  4. Google push down the HTTP page in ranking
  5. Browser display insecure in the URL bar

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is similar to HTTP but with SSL certificate included. Which means it is secure.

HTTPS encrypts the entire communication with the help of SSL certificates. Only after the identification and matching of the keys, the handshake happens, and the information transfers.

With HTTPS, one can send sensitive information. Even if someone fetched the information in the middle of the transfer, what he will get is incomprehensible coded information. The information cannot become readable without the keys that the SSL certificate holds.

An independent authority is responsible for the verification of SSL certificates. Each SSL is unique to the site. It means the information is useless unless the site fetches it.

Advantage of HTTPS:

  1. HTTPS site loads on HTTPS, even if you type HTTP in the URL due to the redirection, and browser push.
  2. Critical for eCommerce business, and a necessity for the payment gateways.
  3. Green locks in the URL in browsers build trust and credibility.
  4. Google gives the site with HTTPS an edge in the ranking.
  5. SSL certificate encrypts the data to protect th files

Disadvantages of HTTPS:

  1. HTTPS is useless in encrypting the information cached in the browser. If someone can get the browser cache, it will be without encrypted form.
  2. HTTPS has more threads running on the network so it increases the bandwidth usage for the organisations.

What is the main difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

The main difference between HTTP and HTTPS is the SSL certificate. HTTPS has SSL certificates installed, so the data transmits in encrypted form. In HTTP, there is no encryption, and the data transfer from one point to another in a text form. 

A men-in-the-middle attack can capture the packets in the middle, and steal the sensitive information.

If you are a blogger, or it is a personal website, you may not be collecting sensitive information. But eCommerce business requires payment gateway, and payment gateway’s policies are strict when it comes to data security.

HTTP vs HTTPS Table

ParametersHTTPHTTPS
ProtocolHypertext Transfer ProtocolSecure Hypertext Transfer Protocol
SecurityLess secureProtect critical information by encrypting
PortPort 80Port 443
URL starts withhttp://https://
Used forBlogs, Information, Portfolio etc sites that do not collect informationeCommerce, banking, finance, type sites that contain information
SSLNo SSL requiredSSL required
Data encryptionWebsite does not use encryptionWebsite use encryption
Search RankingGoogle push the site downGoogle reward the site
SpeedFastSlower compared to HTTP

Explaining each parameter in short:

Protocol

Both HTTP and HTTPS have the same core protocol, that is HTTPS. The difference here is of security that comes with the SSL certificate. 

The ‘S’ stands for secure.

Security

HTTPS is more secure than HTTP due to encryption of data before transferring. HTTPS scramble the critical data to make it unreadable without the keys.

Port

HTTP transmits data over PORT 80, while PORT 443 is assigned to HTTPS.

A port is a logical construct that identifies a specific process or a type of network service. 

Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of World Wide Web) has assigned the PORT 80 to HTTP. Later, when the HTTPS appeared for the first time in 1994, PORT 443 was available to use.

URL starts with

You can check this in your browser URL bar. The URL with HTTPS begins with https://, while the site that does not have SSL begin with http://.

HTTP vs HTTPS difference

With a look to the loading URL, you can check whether the site has HTTPS.

SSL Certificate

HTTP does not require an SSL certificate. HTTPS does. 

There are many types of SSL certificates. Both free and paid.

Data encryption

HTTPS encrypts the request before sending. HTTP sends the request in text format.

This is because of the SSL certificate.

Search Ranking

Having a secure site and HTTPS is a light-weight signal of authority. Moreover, it generates trust and reputation, which then add to the site authority.

Speed

HTTPS with its multiple threads is slower than HTTP, but with HTTP/2, the problem is nearly solved.

Take Away

HTTPS is a standard protocol for secure websites. Though only 63% of websites use HTTPS, the numbers are improving.

Besides security, HTTPS have many reasons to make the switch. Visitors have become educated about secure and insecure sites due to Green signal browser shows to the safe sites. They trust the browser, and hence the HTTPS.

In this short article, I talked about the differences between HTTP and HTTPS. 

If there are any questions and issues, you can leave it in the comment box.

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