Back in August of last year Google officially announced that switching your website over to HTTPS will give you a minor ranking boost. If you’ve been doing some online searches (scoping out your competition, perhaps? Looking for a company to remodel your kitchen?), you’ve probably noticed both HTTP and HTTPS sites. What is the difference between the two, and is it important in terms of online marketing?
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HTTPS: Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol
HTTPS, or “secure http”, was developed to allow authorization and secured transactions. Exchanging confidential information needs to be secured in order to prevent unauthorized access, and https makes this happen. In many ways, https is identical to http because it follows the same basic protocols. The http or https client, such as a Web browser, establishes a connection to a server on a standard port. However, https offers an extra layer of security because it uses SSL to move data.
For all intents and purposes, HTTPS is HTTP, it’s just the secure version.
To get technical on you, the main difference is that it uses TCP Port 443 by default, so HTTP and HTTPS are two separate communications.
HTTPS works in conjunction with another protocol, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), to transport data safely (which is really the key difference that Google cares about).
Remember, HTTP and HTTPS don’t care how the data gets to its destination. In contrast, SSL doesn’t care what the data looks like (like HTTP does).
That is why HTTPS really offers the best of both worlds: Caring about what the user sees visually, but also having an extra layer of security when moving data from point A to point B.