Our old property refurbishment website was running on Http, with no ‘s’. Http stands for ‘HyperText Transfer Protocol’. This is the mechanism for two devices sharing information over the internet, contact form submissions, emails, online purchases and more. That is all well and good, as it has been for years, but it isn’t secure, which means other devices operated by third parties can listen in, so to speak, and intercept information that they shouldn’t.
Https is a secure version of Http. The additional ‘S’ stands for secure. It’s the reason the web address bar in your browser’s window turns green, either the padlock, the word secure, the website prefix (https) or all three. In order for a website to get a security tag, allowing them the ability to make data transfers securely, they have to hand over details about themselves and prove that they own the web address to the company issuing them an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) security certificate. By being secure, the earlier mentioned data that gets transferred often via websites, contact forms, emails, payments etc is now encrypted. This means anyone who attempts to intercept that data won’t be able to interpret it. The information a third party attempts to read is now scrambled into mumbo jumbo, ensuring protection.
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Why is Https important? Well, not many people enjoy their personal information being shared with other people, whether purposefully or by accident. Most websites are now heading towards Https before it’s forced upon them by influential companies in the internet sector (web browser providers and Google particularly). Generally, sites that accept personal information like credit card details already have Https checkout pages, they may not have all of the pages of their website secured but as long as the important pages are it means the site is as ok as any other to use, so bear in mind that just because a site isn’t fully https on every page it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s also important to note that a lot of general websites don’t particularly need to be secure, irrespective of the fact your browser window may be making a big deal about it not being secure. It doesn’t mean the site you’ve just visited is harmful when the browser informs you it isn’t secure, it just means any information you send via the site isn’t secure.
If you’re looking for a kitchen fitter in Birmingham, for example, and land on a site that isn’t Https secure, and you get a browser popup saying connection not secure or similar, as long as you don’t intend to make an online payment, it’s not all that big of a deal, although, it’s nice to know that if you pop your details into a contact form you aren’t sharing your personal email with anyone else, everyone hates spam emails, right? In an age where data is black gold, it is good practice for website owners to respect their customer’s information in every way possible.