💡 In this post, you’ll learn everything that you need to know, including the following:
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS, or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, serves as a secure protocol for all communications between a website’s server and a visitor’s browser. Or, in more general terms, for all communications between a server and a client.
ℹ️ A protocol gets utilized every time an internet user accesses a website, but that site dictates the type of protocol: HTTP or HTTPS.
What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), as you might already be able to tell, lacks the “Secure” part we see in HTTPS.
They’re both highly efficient communication protocols, but they work in different ways.
HTTP works like this:
- A user tries to access an HTTP website using a web browser
- The browser sends unencrypted login data, such as the server username and password, to the server, using hypertext format
- The server responds with the necessary site data, which the browser uses to display site content to the user
The important detail here is that the data is unencrypted with regular HTTP. This means that it’s possible for someone to sit in the “middle” and read all the data as it passes between your web browser and the server.
For example, if you’re connected to public Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee shop, someone else on that network could snoop on the data.
On the other hand, HTTPS works like this:
- A user tries to access an HTTPS website using a web browser
- The browser sends encrypted login data, so it’s the same hypertext format, with the same login credentials, but it’s codified with random characters to prevent intrusions
- The server decrypts the message, then responds with the necessary site data, which the browser uses to display the visual site content to the user
With HTTPS, people can no longer snoop on that data. While they could still see that some type of data was moving between your web browser and the server, they wouldn’t be able to view the data itself because it’s encrypted. For example, instead of seeing your password, they’d just see a bunch of random text and numbers with no meaning.
How to see if a website uses HTTP or HTTPS
It’s easy for any website visitor to check if a site is protected by HTTPS.
Many browsers clear out the HTTP or HTTPS part of a URL for a cleaner interface, so you may not immediately see it next to the URL. However, browsers have unique indicators, such as Lock icons, to mark sites as using HTTPS.
The following screenshot shows that Lock icon, telling us that the site is secure with HTTPS.
You can also click on that Lock icon to
This article was written by Joe Warnimont and originally published on CodeinWP.