What is HTTPS?
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTP Secure) or (HTTPS) is a secure and widely used internet communication protocol for the World Wide Web (WWW). It is the underlying network protocol beyond a computer network that enables to transfer of hypertext/hypermedia information on the World Wide Web (WWW).
The communication protocol is encrypted or encoded using Transport Layer Security (TLS), or formerly, called as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). The communication protocol is also referred as HTTP over TLS or HTTP over SSL. The current version of the HTTP specification is called HTTP/2.
It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks, Meet-in-the-middle attacks, Session Hijacking and SSL stripping. HTTPS connections are mainly used for secure payment transactions on the Web, e-mails and for sensitive transactions in corporate information systems (CIS).
It is recommended to use HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) with HTTPS to protect users from man-in-the-middle attacks, especially SSL stripping.
The protocol’s encryption layer (SSL/TLS) certificates to service providers are Symantec, GeoTrust, Comodo, DigiCert, GoDaddy, Let’s Encrypt, GlobalSign and Network Solutions.
See the below examples of the different SSL certificates on websites.
See the below examples of the unsecured protocols on web browsers it alerts the user when visiting sites that have invalid security certificates.
1. Warning on Google Chrome browser.
2. Warning on Mozilla Firefox browser.
Data/Information sent by using HTTPS protocol is secured via Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS)/Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which provides three important layers are
The exchanged (transmitting & receiving) data to keep it secure from eavesdroppers and tamperers. That means that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can “listen” to their conversations, track their activities across multiple pages, or steal or breach their data/information.
2. Data integrity:
Data integrity means the completeness, accuracy, and consistency of data, it cannot be modified or corrupted during transmitting & receiving. It protects the data against unauthorized access or corruption or modified during communication.
It protects data against man-in-the-middle attacks when users can communicate with the website and its builds user trust, which translates into other business benefits.
Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL):
Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) are the cryptographic protocols that provide secure communications beyond a computer network.
SSL/TLS is a secure layer protocol which makes the HTTP protocol transmitting and receiving activity to encrypted the data flow between the client and the server.
It will provide a secure layer between servers and web browsers. It will provide privacy and data integrity between communicating computer network applications.
Client-server applications use the TLS protocol to communicate beyond a communication network in a way of designed to prevents eavesdropping and tampering.
HTTPS encrypts and decrypts user page requests as well as the pages that are returned by the Web server.
It secures the data as it traveling between the server and the client (web browsers). It comprises two protocol layers i.e TLS record and TLS handshake protocols.
Do I Need to Redirect From HTTP to HTTPS?
Yes, we just need to redirect your HTTP traffic to HTTPS, You can get into trouble with Google or other search engines if you make your site available on both HTTP and HTTPS protocols, so we need to redirect from HTTP to HTTPS and also, browsers will show a NOT SECURE message when the site is not secured by an HTTPS protocol connection.
Google announced in 2014 that having an SSL/TLS Encryption certificate will be considered a positive ranking signal.
Google prefers HTTPS sites because there tends to be faster and more secure and also increase the Your users/visitors trust of flow. It will rank higher on SERPs compare to non-secure websites.
Most of the payment Gateway companies like PayPal Pro, PayUmoney, Stripe, Authorize.net, citrus pay, Amazon Pay, etc will require you to have a secure connection before accepting payments.
Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS or Moving a website to HTTPS/SSL/TLS:
After successfully installed the SSL/TLS certificates do the following changes for the better website
1. Rename or change all the URLs from HTTP to HTTPS on the website.
2. Add HTTP to HTTPS Redirection on .htaccess for all URLs on the website.
3. Setup HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) on HTTP Headers.
4. Remove the mixed content elements on the website (Make sure to change internal links (URLs) from HTTP to https either make it to relative URLs Links on website internal links)
5. You can also switch all related internal and external hyperlinks to HTTPS:// (start with // or HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://).
6. Update Your sitemaps with HTTPS URLs.
7. Update Your Structure data (JSON-LD scheme.org) with HTTPS URLs.
7. Make sure to add the HTTPS property to Search Console.
8. Search Console will be treated as HTTP & HTTPS site URLs separately, data for these properties are not shared in Search Console. So if you have pages in both protocols (HTTP and HTTPS), you must have to add a separate Search Console property for each one.
9. Resubmit the updated sitemaps and robots.txt on search console and make sure Googlebot can re-index your website more rapidly after the moving or migrate from HTTP:// to HTTPS:// during low-traffic hours.
10. Testing on online tools like SSL Shopper and SSL Labs
Note: If you can’t do this changes the website will lose all the traffic on search engines when the SSL/TLS certificates are installed.
Where can we Check if a website’s connection is secure or not?
We can check the what type of SSL/TLS certificates is active on the website and also check it is secure or not.
To check a website’s security, to the left of the web address, look at the security status like below.
- 1. Green Pad Lock symbol » Secure
- 2. Information symbol » Info or Not secure
- 3. Dangerous symbol » Not secure or Dangerous
1. Secure :
If the site icon shows like Green Pad Lock symbol tells the Data/Information transmitting and receiving are secured via HTTPS
2. Info or Not secure :
If the site icon shows like Information symbol tells the Data/Information transmitting and receiving are secure via HTTPS but the URLs protocols are not redirecting to HTTP Secure (HTTPS).
On some sites, you can visit a more secure version of the page:
Select and enter HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// on web address bar and check the site is open in the secure protocol or not. if it is not working contact the website owner to ask that they secure the site and your data with HTTPS.
3. Not secure or Dangerous :
If the site icon shows like Dangerous symbol tells the Data/Information transmitting and receiving is not secure, don’t enter any private or personal information on this website or web page. If it possible, don’t use the website. Why because login and payment transactions on this site are not secure any time the hackers or attackers can attack and steal or breach the data from this un-secure protocol.
click and check the site information on info or green padlock or dangerous icons on left side of the address bar. It will show the connection is secure or not. See the below screenshot to check the connection is secure or not.
Is HTTPS is safe?
Some ethical hackers trying to encrypt and decrypts data in between the server and the client with or without the secure layer. so HTTPS didn’t matter at that point. In this situation, encryption can be cracked and breach the data in between the server and the client.
It does not mean your data is safe through HTTPS. To say that if you see HTTPs and the little green padlock on your browser’s navigation address bar means a website is “safe” or secure. HTTPS only protects data as it travels to its client’s (web browsers) destination. HTTPS makes no guarantees as to what happens to your data once it arrives where it was going. After data securely reaches it’s client’s destination over HTTPS it may or may not be stored in an encrypted manner. There may or may not be strong security controls preventing unauthorized access to it. There may or may not be malicious employees looking to steal your data or spy on your personal messages.
If you click on a link in phishing email it may take you to a fake version of your bank’s website. That fake site may use HTTPS, which just means your information will be securely delivered to the criminals who are collecting it.
Most Important things to data safe:
1. Use robust security certificates (HTTPS doesn’t protect your data completely, but it’s a really good start to have SSL/TLS)
2. If you are share or sending the data through forms or any other ways on any websites Looks clearly and confirm once then procedure.
3. Don’t save your passwords on public computer networks.
4. Check once you are opening correct internet banking account web URLs are not.
5. Read carefully before accepting terms and privacy
Avoid these common pitfalls
1. Expired SSL/TLS certificates
2. Certificate registered to an incorrect website name
3. SSL/TLS certificates installation failed errors (Improper Connection Errors)
3. Mixed security elements (Mixed Content)
4. Check your website returns the correct HTTP status code or not
5. Fix the Crawling issues (Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt.)
6. Fix the Indexing issues (Avoid the no index meta tag and Allows indexing of your Web pages)
7. Not Proper Use of 301/302 URLs redirections.
Also Read : How to Protect WebSites Against Attackers or Hackers by using “X-Security Headers”.