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When you hop on the Internet and browse through your favorite sites, you’ll notice one of these in your address bar: http:// or https://.

But so what? Who cares about these trivial things?

Well, those letters actually mean a lot to you, whether you’re browsing online or launching a website of your own.

As it happens, both of these little groups of letters are protocols used to transmit a website’s information between a web server and a web browser. The http:// is the most widely used protocol for data transfer, but it’s less secure. HTTPS is more secure.

In this article, we are going to define and differentiate between these two important protocols. We are also going to provide a few benefits of HTTPS security sites, especially for e-commerce businesses.

What Are HTTP and HTTPS?

HTTP is an abbreviation for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It’s a computer protocol that defines how data or messages are formatted and transmitted across the World Wide Web. “Its main function,” as PC Magazine beautifully puts it, “is to establish connection with the server and send HTML pages back to the user’s browser.”

HTTPS, on the other hand, stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Here, communications between browsers and websites are encrypted. In other words, they are protected by a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

HTTP and HTTPS are closely related, but their one major difference is… big.

The One Gigantic Difference between HTTP and HTTPS

The letter “s” in HTTPS, which is missing in HTTP, is the major difference between the two web protocols, and that difference is as big as the entire universe.

HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP. With HTTP, communications between browsers and websites are not encrypted, which means sites are susceptible to hackers and other security breaches. Conversely, communications are bulletproofed with HTTPS.

For e-commerce sites that accept sensitive details, such as user logins and credit card information, switching to HTTPS is the only option.

Why Websites Should Go HTTPS

Nobody is saying that HTTPS is a complete antidote to hacking, phishing emails, or other top security issues.

However, if you’re using a WordPress site for your digital business, HTTPS will give you the minimum security you need to power your online business. Here are three reasons all websites should set up HTTPS:

  1. Protect your brand. With the frequent cases of cyber crimes, which have been predicted to inflict damages that will amount to trillions of dollars annually by 2021—according to a 2016 research by Cybersecurity Ventures—you need to protect your brand. And the best way to protect your brand is to shield it with HTTPS security encryption that makes it difficult for criminals to break.
  2. Rank higher on Google. Security is one of the top factors Google uses in ranking websites. The search engine giant promotes quality content for its billions of online searchers, and it helps secured sites rank higher in its algorithms. In fact, a 2017 study by Moz found that 50 percent of page one Google results are HTTPS. So, yes, Google ranks HTTPS sites higher than the HTTP sites.
  3. Build brand trust. HTTPS sites open a floodgate of prospects for your online store. According to a survey conducted by GlobalSign, more than 80 percent of respondents say they’d rather not buy from HTTP sites.

Talk about great reasons to switch!