What is HTTP?
HTTP is short for HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.
What is HTTPS?
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. HTTPS is often used to protect highly confidential online transactions like online banking and online shopping order forms.
How Does HTTPS Work?
HTTPS pages typically use one of two secure protocols to encrypt communications – SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security). Both the TLS and SSL protocols use what is known as an ‘asymmetric’ Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) system. An asymmetric system uses two ‘keys’ to encrypt communications, a ‘public’ key and a ‘private’ key. Anything encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted by the private key and vice-versa.
As the names suggest, the ‘private’ key should be kept strictly protected and should only be accessible the owner of the private key. In the case of a website, the private key remains securely ensconced on the web server. Conversely, the public key is intended to be distributed to anybody and everybody that needs to be able to decrypt information that was encrypted with the private key.
Benefits of Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or SSL
- Customer information, like credit card numbers, is encrypted and cannot be intercepted
- Visitors can verify you are a registered business and that you own the domain
- Customers are more likely to trust and complete purchases from sites that use HTTPS
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