Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer protocol. It is the brain behind data communication between server and client.
Then there is HTTPS. It is an HTTP protocol with advanced security policies. HTTPS is nothing but the HTTP with an association with an SSL certificate.
5 Advantages and Disadvantages of HTTPS
1. Data Encryption:
HTTP does not encrypt the data while transferring data between client and server. If anyone/hacker intercepts in between, data can be exposed to the hacker. The data transferred over HTTPS gets encrypted. Even if the hacker gets the data while data transfer, they cannot do anything as data is already encrypted.
2. Data Protection:
HTTP saves cookies/data on the client system. Especially if you are using HTTP in the cafe or on any public system, you are leaving you data in public space which is considered as the thread for data stealing. HTTPS does not save any kind of data (or very limited) on the client system. So HTTPS ensures data protection.
3. Server Authentication:
If you are using HTTPS you can see a padlock in the address bar. If you click on it, you can authenticate the server. You can check out all the cookies that are stored on your system, authorized certificates, and permission allowed to access the system resources.
If the certificate and the website policies mismatch, a user will get the notification as an unsecured connection and will ask your permission to proceed further.
In other words, HTTPS gives you an opportunity to leave before feeding any personal data to an invalided server. Here is an example where Quora using HTTPS protocol.
4. Handshaking before Data Transfer:
The HTTP protocol is used to transfer the data without handshaking. In the case of HTTPS, handshaking needs to be done.
This ensures the validation of all the data transfers and components including the sender, receiver, and all intermediate components. If validations successful, data transfer occurs. If validation fails, it aborts all the data transfer activity.
5. Search Engine Visibility:
HTTPS gets more preference than HTTP for search engine visibility by Google and other search engines.
If you are building a website and deal with important data like money transfer, username, and password; you should consider using HTTPS instead of HTTP.
The only disadvantage of using HTTPS instead of HTTP is the extra overhead of data transfer.
Overhead includes time to encrypt and decrypt the data, extra header input for encrypted data, handshaking before transferring actual data.
So if you are creating a website that has static contents or if there is no private data transfer, you can opt for the HTTP.
You have to pay for the SSL certificate if you are using HTTPS.
Also Read: How VPN Works to Access Blocked Websites
Should I go for HTTP or HTTPS?
It all depends on your priority.
Website security is a big concern for all different types of websites.
HTTPS is always better than HTTP for security reasons. But it comes with extra overhead. If security is the first priority for you, use the System Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for the website.
If your website does not deal with any secure or private data (Ex. static website or blog), use HTTP.
It saves your money as you don’t require buying an SSL certificate and also leaves extra overhead of data and handshaking.
However, with the entry of HTTP/2 and ECC algorithms, the SSL has already minimized the overhead and SSL handshake process. Also, Google’s initiative to enable HTTPS on almost the website has made an SSL imperative security solution for each website holder. In this case, if you are dealing with a single website (single-domain SSL) or unlimited subdomains (wildcard SSL certificate), you need to choose an SSL certificate type as per your website requirement.
This is all about the advantages and disadvantages of HTTPs.