Maybe one or the other has noticed it before. When a website is called, a note is displayed at the top of the address bar that identifies the website as secure. This is the case if the URL of the website includes the HTTPS protocol. But what is HTTPS and how does this labeling affect a website? We would like to explain this in the following article.
What is meant by HTTPS protocol?
HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. It is used when a website is called up using the web browser. This means that data is requested from another web server. The HTTPS thus represents the common language of these two web servers. The S designates the encrypted communication that prevails between the computer and the server. In short: Third parties can not pretend to be a server and read your sensitive user data. Because of this, many sites that do transactions are honored with this certificate. These include, for example, online shops, social media platforms or banks that offer their customers online banking – in other words, pages on which users store personal data such as passwords or account details. The goal of the HTTPS protocol is to provide more security and privacy on the World Wide Web. In contrast, the HTTP protocol works on the same principle, but has no encryption and exchanged information can be simply “read” and abused.
How does the HTTPS protocol work?
But what happens when you visit a website using HTTPS encryption? The two computers involved in this communication each generate a secret key. This is known only to the two partners involved and is created based on the previously exchanged data. Then both create a public key that encrypts the data to be sent. This can be seen, but since it is just for encryption, but not for decrypting the data, the key itself is completely useless. The public key must be previously authenticated to ensure that the key is indeed from a secure source. This key is assigned a security certificate called an SSL certificate. The site will be marked with a note that identifies it as safe. For example, when using the Google Chrome browser, it will be displayed in the address bar with a green lock and the word Secure.
Missing HTTPS? What effects does this have?
Unfortunately not all websites are equipped with the HTTPS, although HTTPS has been standard for years. But what happens to websites that do not have HTTPS? Google acts rigorously against them, classifies them as unsafe and punishes them. This has several consequences: firstly, these sites lose good ranking positions in the organic search results, and secondly, fewer conversions are achieved. But why is that? If you call an insecure website, this will be displayed with a warning. In all likelihood, you will be careful not to enter your personal information or even make a purchase on it. As a result, you will leave the site very quickly, increasing the bounce rate for the website owner. This means less traffic on the website, less good rankings and, sooner or later, the website operator will generate less revenue.