HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a secure version of HTTP, the protocol used for transmitting data between a web browser and a website. This secure version encrypts the communication between the browser and the server, ensuring that the information remains confidential and unaltered during transit.

Sites that use HTTPS display a lock icon in the browser address bar.

example of https lock icon in address bar

Most web hosting companies will provide an SSL certificate for your website automatically. This is what enables HTTPS.

How HTTPS works:

  • Uses SSL/TLS encryption to secure the connection between the browser and the server
  • Encrypts all data exchanged, including URLs, headers, and content
  • Verifies the identity of the website through digital certificates issued by trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs)
  • Prevents unauthorized access, tampering, or eavesdropping of the transmitted data

Importance of HTTPS:

  • Protects sensitive information (e.g., passwords, credit card details) from being intercepted by hackers
  • Ensures data integrity by preventing unauthorized modifications during transmission
  • Builds trust with users by displaying a padlock icon and “https” in the browser’s address bar
  • Satisfies Google’s emphasis on HTTPS as a requirement for good browsing experiences
  • Complies with web standards and regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) for e-commerce websites

In summary, HTTPS is crucial for maintaining the security, privacy, and integrity of data transmitted between web browsers and servers, while also enhancing user trust and supporting search engine optimization.

Related: HTTPS and SEO: How Website Security Impacts Your Rankings