HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure)

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an internet communication protocol that protects the privacy of user data between their browser and the site they are using.

A secure alternative to HTTP, this protocol is usually used to protect confidential transactions like online shopping orders and online banking. Because of this, HTTPS is widely used by e-commerce sites and sites containing sensitive material.

An example of an HTTPS URL is:

How does HTTPS work?

HTTPS secures connections using a TLS protocol that prevents eavesdroppers from accessing private information. TLS (Transport Layer Security) provides secure internet communication by encrypting private information and authenticating the security of a server, ensuring there are no imposters diverting confidential information.

You’ll often see TLS referred to as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). SSL is the predecessor of TLS, but is gradually being phased out after many upgrades to TLS.

When accessing a web page with HTTPS connection, the website will send its TLS certificate to your browser. This certificate contains a public key necessary to begin the secure session. Your browser and the website then establish a uniquely secure connection between yourself and the website.

Google now recommends that all websites use HTTPS connections as opposed to standard HTTP. In 2014, the search engine giant announced that its algorithm would now consider HTTPS as a positive ranking signal.

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