What is HTTPS and Why is it Important?

  • September 20 2016, 12:00 pm

  • by Wes Sovis

  • General

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS is an extremely important component for web sites, individual web pages, and web application security. While it's certainly not a necessary precaution for all sites or applications, it's certainly a measure to be deployed when sensitive information is being entered or accessed on the Internet. HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. This is the secure version if HTTP. HTTPS adds an extra layer of security compared with a standard HTTP connection by adding encryption to the data being sent and received from an HTTPS website or individual web page. 

How Does HTTPS Work? 

When you visit a page that has HTTPS enabled, your browser will be sent an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is one of the components that encrypts data being sent and received between the website and your web browser. By using HTTPS to encrypt data on specific pages in a website, it protects sensitive user information like credit cards, social security numbers, medical information and more.

Users are notified when a web page has HTTPS enabled in numerous ways depending on which browser you're using. But usually, you'll see a lock, or the browser will turn color in the search bar so that you know the sensitive data you're entering into the web page is encrypted and protected from hackers who could intercept the transaction.

When to Use HTTPS

As either a web developer or a consumer, it's a good idea to know when HTTPS should be utilized. As alluded to above, as a consumer you should only provide sensitive information to reputable websites. As a business or organization, any reputable website should utilize HTTPS or another form of encryption when collecting financial information, personal information, medical records, or other types of information that would be detrimental to the business or the consumer if the information was somehow accessed by an unauthorized third-party. 

To provide an example, your personal blog on Squarespace probably doesn't need to have HTTPS on each page. However, when you make a payment to purchase or renew your domain on through Squarespace, that page certainly should employ HTTPS to protect your credit card information. 

So before you enter sensitive personal information or your credit card information, take a look at your browser's search bar. Make sure you see some notification to confirm your information is protected and secure to avoid your sensitive information being stolen by a who is up to no good.

Swell Development is a web development firm based in Grand Rapids, MI that specializes is web application development. With fifty years of combined experience in the web development industry, our team can handle any web development project in fewer billable hours and without missing a deadline. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ to stay in touch.