Difference between HTTPs and HTTP, and TLS vs SSL



What is HTTPS?

What Is HTTPS: The Definitive Guide to how Https work, And how it differs from HTTP?

What is HTTPS?

Hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, which is the primary protocol used to send data between a web browser and a websiteHTTPS stands for hypertext transfer protocol secure and is the encrypted version of HTTP. It is used for secure communication across the internet or a network. The communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or, formerly, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

Our journey in this article will be a deep dive into the world of HTTP vs. HTTPS, and how they work, and I will show you how to make sure your site survives any technical issues when migrating from one protocol to another. Here is a quick breakdown of what I will cover in this article, Dear users it is our humble request to you plz share and comment, your one share on social networking media increases our efficiency of work, 

The topic HTTPS Cover

  • HTTP and HTTPS: Their Importance to the WWW
  • What is HTTP? 
  • What is HTTPS? 
  • How Does HTTPS Work?
  • HTTP vs. HTTPS — HTTPS Builds Trust with Your Users
  • Migration SEO Issues: Moving from HTTP to HTTPS
  • HTTP:// vs. HTTPS:// - Which is Really the Best?
  • More HTTPS Tips from Google - HSTS and Common Questions

Any website, especially those that require login credentials, should use HTTPS. In modern web browsers such as Chrome, websites that do not use HTTPS are marked differently than those that are. Look for a green padlock in the URL bar to signify the webpage is secure. Web browsers take HTTPS seriously; Google Chrome and other browsers flag all non-HTTPS websites as not secure.

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In the beginning, SEOs had HTTP, a protocol used to deliver web pages to the masses. The web was simple, and website migrations existed solely from domain to domain or server to server. You didn't have to worry about all that much beyond the usual redirects and making sure that your website migration went off without a hitch. Then came HTTPS.

New technologies always create new issues that one must solve to continue achieving the same (or better) results than before.

How does HTTPS work?

HTTPS uses an encryption protocol to encrypt communications. The protocol is called Transport Layer Security (TLS), although formerly it was known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This protocol secures communications by using what’s known as an asymmetric public key infrastructure. This type of security system uses two different keys to encrypt communications between two parties:

  • The private key - this key is controlled by the owner of a website and it’s kept, as the reader may have speculated, private. This key lives on a web server and is used to decrypt information encrypted by the public key.
  • The public key - this key is available to everyone who wants to interact with the server in a way that’s secure. Information that’s encrypted by the public key can only be decrypted by the private key.

How is HTTPS different from HTTP?

    Technically speaking, HTTPS is not a separate protocol from HTTP. It is simply using TLS/SSL encryption over the HTTP protocol. HTTPS occurs based upon the transmission of TLS/SSL certificates, which verify that a particular provider is who they say they are.

    When a user connects to a webpage, the webpage will send over its SSL certificate which contains the public key necessary to start the secure session. The two computers, the client and the server, then go through a process called an SSL/TLS handshake, which is a series of back-and-forth communications used to establish a secure connection. To take a deeper dive into encryption and the SSL/TLS handshake, read about what happens in a TLS handshake.

What is TLS? How it Applies to HTTPS

TLS stands for transport layer security. It helps encrypt HTTPS and can be used to secure email and other protocols. It uses cryptographic techniques that ensure data has not been tampered with since it was sent, that communications are with the actual person the communication came from, and to prevent private data from being seen.

Things kick off with a TLS handshake, the process that kicks off a communication session that uses TLS encryption. This is where authentication takes place, and session keys are created. Brand-new session keys are generated when two devices communicate, from the two different keys working together. The result of this is deeper, more encrypted communication.

A Critical Step for HTTPS — Authenticating the Web Server

The most critical step for an HTTPS secure connection is ensuring that a web server is who they say they are.

That is why the SSL certificate is the most important part of this setup; it ensures the owner of the webserver is who they say the certificate says it is. It works very similarly to how a driver's license works — it confirms the identity of the owner of the server.

A layer of protection from certain types of attacks exists when you implement HTTPS, making this a valuable staple of your website.

HTTP vs. HTTPS — HTTPS Builds Trust with Your Users

One big hidden benefit of HTTPS is that it helps build trust with your users. If you run an e-commerce site that accepts credit card data, the fact that a padlock appears on your site within the browser gives your users confidence that your site can handle credit card transactions without leaking data to prying eyes.


It will help users trust your site that much more than if it were an insecure site — and modern browsers warn users when sites are not "safe."

With HTTPS, credit card data, passwords, private user data, and personal data are all encrypted with an industrial-strength level layer of security. This security is what will enable your site to continue remaining competitive against others in your niche.

Aside from protecting user data from prying eyes, https:// helps to protect your reputation. If you regularly have security breaches on your site, and user data is exposed, people will not want to use it. This can damage your online reputation beyond repair and can cost you in the long run.

HTTP Outliers

While outliers are few and far between nowadays, there are still outliers who have not made the full switch to https://. For certain outliers, this makes sense — if you are not serving users who regularly provide sensitive data for e-commerce or other reasons, you probably don't need the increased better security.

In a perfect world, when everything is equal on a website, https:// is a tie-breaker for rankings. However, we seldom live in a perfect world when it comes to SEO. Thus, you are still able to rank when it comes to http://.

While the benefits of https:// are many, John Mueller has also said that HTTPS is a lightweight ranking factor, and that is it, but Google is on record as saying that "when everything else is equal, the ranking benefit of HTTPS is tie-breaker status."

Migration SEO Issues: Moving from HTTP to HTTPS

There are many benefits to switching from HTTP to HTTPS in SEO, especially from an SEO perspective. However, unless you are familiar with the process, you can cause more harm than good.

You must let Google know about the transition. You need to choose the certificate that is best for your situation, set up Google Search Console, set up Google Analytics, update internal links, and update any relative URLs. Let's look at each of these a bit more closely.

Inform Google About the Transition, and Mistakes to Avoid

This step involves setting up another Google Search Console profile. Don't disable your non-secure GSC profile. Instead, you need to keep all profiles active. Set up a new profile for the HTTPS version of your site and ensure that it continues collecting data.

Also, in Google Analytics, you must make sure that you set your profile to secure. Otherwise, you will not be tracking the right data.

Don't forget to update data collection parameters in Google Tag Manager where applicable. In addition, if you use Bing Webmaster Tools, updating http:// to https:// during the migration will also be necessary.

You would be surprised how often I encounter mistakes in http:// to https:// transitions that were caused by a lack of developmental oversight on the initial transition process and not updating critical data tracking profiles.

These types of mistakes can lead to both underreporting and overreporting of data, both of which can spell doom for the accuracy of your SEO strategy decisions.

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Choose the Right Security Certificate: SSL and Wildcard Certificates

You have SSL certificates for a variety of purposes. One for a single domain, another for multiple domains, not to mention Wildcard certifications. For smaller sites, a full wildcard certificate is usually not necessary. However, it can make your life much easier when working to control URL syntax across your websites.

An SSL certificate for a single domain is issued for one subdomain, or the single domain itself. An SSL certificate for multiple domains will allow you to secure the main domain name and up to 99 SANs, or subject alternative names.

The wildcard allows you to secure your initial website URL and any and all unlimited subdomains associated with it. What does this mean? This means that if you set up domain.maindomain.com and it is created with a wildcard certificate, it is automatically secure. You will not have to expend more effort in making sure that it fits within the existing security of your site. In other words, it will save you many headaches.

Clearly, the wildcard certificate is the clear winner here. But, as a robust certificate with many different features, it does cost more, so you will have to weigh the additional business expense and compare it with the features you will gain.

Make Sure All URLs Are Properly Updated Sitewide

There are some who recommend using only relative URLs for your resources. Assuming you are adept at managing the ongoing needs of your website, you don't need to do this step. You just need to make sure that all on-site content is appended by the right protocol. And don't forget your XML sitemap!

You would be amazed at how many audits I have done on sites that fail to complete this one step — making sure all of their content is secure.

It doesn't matter if you use relative or absolute URLs so long as you keep them updated on-site. You can switch to relative URLs if you prefer, but if your site is built on absolute URLs, use a find-and-replace option with your database if your site allows it. This will help you eliminate all existing instances of mixed content.

Make sure that your URLs are properly pre-pended with https:// after you make the transition, and you should not experience any significant issues.

Don't Prevent Google From Crawling Your New HTTPS Site

You must ensure that all elements are crawlable from your robots.txt. Unless you have a specific issue, such as a folder that really should not be indexed, then it makes sense to allow Google to crawl everything on the site, even CSS and JS files. If your site disallows the rendering of CSS and JS files, you could encounter problems.

An example of this is if you disallow a critical CSS or JS element from rendering on the page, then you can prevent Google from understanding the entire context of the page, which is an important part of achieving higher rankings. Also, in about 99% of cases, there is no reason to disallow CSS or JSS files in this manner.

SEMrush's Site Audit tool will give you a lot of helpful information regarding your HTTPS implementation. It shows you any problems you may have and offers recommendations for fixing them. 

HTTP:// vs. HTTPS:// - Which is Really the Best?

If you are not well-versed in SEO, it is a daunting task to figure out the intricate details behind whether to choose a secure or insecure protocol. Here are a few points that might help you make a decision:

Are you an e-commerce store that deals with sensitive credit card information and personal data? Then securing your website with HTTPS is your best bet. It will help spread goodwill and trust to your online customers, and make sure that you don't make the mistake of being too open to web attacks. Your online reputation will have a more positive positioning as well.

What if you are not an e-commerce store, but you deal with people submitting their information (e.g., through a lead gen site)? Then you want to use HTTPS. People count on the security of the web to protect themselves, along with their personal data from being compromised. This choice helps add yet another layer of trust and legitimacy to your company.

Should you use the free option of Let's Encrypt? Well, that depends. Are you just starting out and you don't have the budget for it? Then, this is a good option. But if you are a company that is making many thousands of dollars, using a more expensive option like GeoTrust or Comodo would be better. They both do the same thing when the implementation goes well, but in marketing, perception is important.

Whether you choose to stay http:// or make the move to https:// is up to you. But, when it comes to creating a more secure web, making the jump to https:// is a wonderful option to take advantage of.

How does a website start using HTTPS?

Many websites hosting providers and other services will offer TLS/SSL certificates for a fee. These certificates will be often be shared amongst many customers. More expensive certificates are available which can be individually registered to particular web properties.

All websites using Cloudflare receive HTTPS for free using a shared certificate (the technical term for this is a multi-domain SSL certificate). Setting up a free account will guarantee a web-property receives continually updated HTTPS protection. You can also explore our paid plans for individual certificates and other features. In either case, a web property receives all the benefits of using HTTPS.


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