Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secured version of HTTP. In simple terms this is the protocol through which information is sent between a browser and website. The difference between HTTP and HTTPS is simply that HTTPS uses encryption when sending the information. This helps to protect information that is being transferred including login details, form submissions and even bank details.

Browsers have gradually been increasing their security levels and marking websites as secure or not secure in recent years, but in July browsers will begin clamping down on those websites still using HTTP. Here we explore HTTPS and why you need to make the switch.

How does HTTPS work?

HTTPS uses either Secure Layer Sockets (SSL) or Transport Layer Sockets (TLS) to secure and encrypt connections. The system creates two ‘keys’ that mean information can only be unlocked with the correct code. The private key is kept by the website owner in their server and this allows them to decipher the information and convert it back into useful data. While the information is being transferred, however, the data cannot be intercepted or captured.

What is the HTTPS certificate?

When a website uses a trusted SSL digital certificate the browser will check this and then display a trusted padlock symbol that reassures the user that the website is protected. With this symbol they will know that the website is able to protect their data.

Why do you need to change to HTTPS?

Whether you are collecting data on your website or not, there is about to be a shift in the way that secure and unsecured websites are treated. In July all HTTP sites on Google will be marked as being unsecured and the other browsers are soon to follow suit. The reality of this is that anyone visiting a HTTP site from July 2018 will be given a warning by their web browser that the website is unsecured. Even if you aren’t collecting data from customers this will be enough to send them looking elsewhere.

How do you change to HTTPS?

To upgrade your website to HTTPS you simply need to follow a certification process, establish your SSL and upgrade your systems. To find out how to make the switch before July, contact Westcountry Media to discuss the options and processes.