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What are The Difference Between HTTP & HTTPS? Reasons Why You Should Use HTTPS

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By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

Drive 20-40% of your revenue with Avada
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Have you ever noticed that there are always the same phrases, which can be http:// or https:// on the address bar of a browser?

In fact, almost all website operators make use of HTTP or HTTPS for their sites. Both HTTP and HTTPS are called protocol.

So, what is protocol, HTTP, HTTPS? What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? Or, which one will be better for users?

Let’s have a look at this post!

What is a protocol?

Protocol definition
Protocol definition

Protocol or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/Internet Protocol (IP) is the standard protocol for internet networks. The standard part of the Internet protocol is responsible for identifying the addresses of data message packets. Meanwhile, other parts of it consist of User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Each of them possesses different features and functions:

  • UDP used for establishing low-latency and loss-tolerating connections between applications on the Internet
  • HTTP for transferring data over the web
  • FTP for the transfer of computer files from a server to a client on a computer network

But they are all used to support the so-called World Wide Web.

What is HTTP and HTTPS?

HTTP definition

Hypertext Transfer Protocol or HTTP is a protocol that is also known as a prescribed order and syntax for displaying information. HTTP is responsible for transferring data over a network, including website content and Application Programming Interface (API) calls. The majority of data is transferred on the Internet, and the means used to implement it is the HTTP protocol. Besides, HTTP requests and HTTP responses are the two main types of HTTP messages we often encounter. To protect sensitive data transmitted via these HTTP communications, it’s essential to implement a robust API security strategy, ensuring secure communication between clients and servers.

An HTTP request is a series of lines following HTTP protocol. For example:

GET /hello.txt HTTP/1.1

User-Agent: curl/7.63.0 libcurl/7.63.0 OpenSSL/1.1.l zlib/1.2.11

Host: www.example.com.

Accept-Language: en.

A HTTP response is also a series of lines following HTTP protocol. AS the name suggests, it is generated when people want to reply to the HTTP request they receive before. For example:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 12:14:39 GMT

Server: Apache

Last-Modified: Mon, 28 Jan 2019 11:17:01 GMT

Accept-Ranges: bytes

Content-Length: 12

Vary: Accept-Encoding

Content-Type: text/plain

Hello World!

HTTPS definition

Actually, the letter “S” in HTTPS stands for “secure” which means HTTPS is Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Similar to HTTP, HTTPS is also a protocol taking the responsibility of transferring data over networks. The difference or the advantage of HTTPS over HTTP is the security. In HTTPS, Transport Layer Security (TLS), or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) are used to encrypt HTTP requests and responses. Therefore, when a hacker attacks, what they see will be a bunch of what looks like random characters rather than a series of lines as in HTTP.

Instead of a series of line as in HTTP like:

GET /hello.txt HTTP/1.1

User-Agent: curl/7.63.0 libcurl/7.63.0 OpenSSL/1.1.l zlib/1.2.11

Host: www.example.com

Accept-Language: en

What the attacker see will be:


What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

Differences between HTTP and HTTPS
Differences between HTTP and HTTPS

HTTP and HTTPS are used so frequently; people can easily come across them when using the Internet. The most regular instance is in the address bar of a browser.

Now, let’s look at the link of the post, what do you see? HTTP or HTTPS?

Let’s go into detail about the difference between HTTP and HTTPS!

Protocol Normal hypertext transfer protocol Secure hypertext transfer protocol
Safety Low, easily hacked High, prevent the case of being hacked and stole information
Port 80 ports by default 443 ports by default
Begin with http:// https://
Purpose For websites which is used for information consumption like blogs For websites which is used for collecting important and confidential data like credit card numbers
Domain name validation No need SSL Need SSL certificate
Data encryption Not use encryption on website Use encryption on website

What are the advantages of using HTTPS for your website?

Advantages of HTTPS
Advantages of HTTPS

Protect the site better

As mentioned above, HTTPS possesses multiple advantages in terms of security, such as authenticating the server, encrypting data transmission, preventing the exchanges from tampering, and so on. Any website operators desire to protect the information of people voting on their websites, and HTTPS is practical.

According to PCI Bata Security Standard Council, HTTPS is regarded as a compulsory criterion that all sites gathering information about payment must have. On the other hand, visitors who provide the data also want to ensure that their information is transmitted securely.

Satisfy the growing demand for security

Nowadays, the demand for data privacy and security has increased significantly among the public, so using HTTPS is also a great advantage for website operators. Many buyers decide to abandon their carts in the eCommerce industry due to security problems, particularly regarding payment and personal information. With such confidential data as credit card numbers, visitors will be more cautious, and they tend to provide this type of information when they find it secure. In 2018, there are 13 percent of cart abandonment belonging to payment security concerns, stated We Make Websites.

Support in SEO

As we know, SEO plays an important role in marketing since it helps increase your site’s ranking on the rank of the site on Google - the most used search engine in the world today. In 2014, Google issued the announcement that considers HTTPS a ranking signal. Since that, it is believed that there is a correlation between HTTPS and higher rankings and page visibility.

More than that, HTTPS usage has been increasing significantly recently, which somehow negatively influences sites not using HTTPS. An outstanding instance for that is the announcement of Google in 2018. They stated that since July 2018, Google Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as non-secure websites. To check this, you can access an arbitrary HTTP site and you will see a notification in the address bar which alerts people that their connection is unsafe.

Beside Google, there is another platform announcing the plans to flag all the HTTP sites.

As a result, if you run a company or online store, this will have a considerable impact on your business in terms of brand-building and marketing, customer acquisition and sales. So, the most effective way to handle and keep up with the global changes is to embrace it: make use of HTTPS on your site.


In short, HTTP and HTTPS are a protocol used for transferring data over the Internet. Each of them possesses different functions and features. However, with the development of the world, HTTPS seems to be a better resolution. It makes sure that the likelihood of being hacked and stealing information will decrease considerably.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.