Monday 06 March 2017
HTTP, HTTP/2 or HTTPS, these acronyms may sound like horrible IT people jargon but they represent a major element of your website.
What does HTTP mean?
HTTP is the acronym for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, it is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web. Hypertext corresponds to the text using logical links (hyperlinks) between nodes containing text. HTTP is the protocol used to exchange or transfer hypertext.
The client (generally your browser) and server communicate by sending plain-text (ASCII) messages
See below an example of that communication:
Why is it important to know? Very simple, it is the backbone of your site structure.
HTTP, HTTP/2 or HTTPS protocols are essential for websites as they define how a website will integrate into its environment.
Let’s have an in-depth look at these:
HTTP (replaced by HTTP/2 in 2015)
The HTTP protocol is the original protocol version. If your site was built before 2015, it may have been built with HTTP v1.0, if it was built after it was most likely built in HTTP/2.
The protocol was made with plain text code resulting in lower speeds despite an acceleration of the technologies.
HTTP/2 (new standard since 2015)
The HTTP/2 protocol is an upgraded version of the HTTP protocol which main effects are the capacity to make a site faster and more reliable, it also allows a major evolution about data compression, allows the multiplexing (check the Wikipedia link) of multiple requests over a single TCP channel. Minification of the amount of code is also a very important element. Finally, the pipelining (Wikipedia link) of requests has been reshaped completely
What does it mean for your site?
Your website will be faster with a higher level of reactivity additionally it will lighter and quicker to build due to the simplification of the protocol.
HTTPS is a form of encrypted HTTP/2 allowing a maximised security through the use of TLS (Transport Layer Security) which replaced the SSL technology.
What does it mean for your site?
The main motivation for HTTPS is authentication of the visited website and protection of the privacy and integrity of the exchanged data.
What is the best solution nowadays?
We will approach this question by taking an SEO approach.
According to the major Search Engines, HTTPS is the best, however, there is a controversy existing in the industry.
HTTPS is great for e-commerce websites as you will have to collect and store sensitive data as well as P2I (Personal Identifiable Information).
The main purpose is to protect this type of information, though, for a blog or a website not performing any transaction, the HTTPS protocol seems a bit exaggerated.
Despite the fact that Google implemented the HTTPS protocol as a ranking signal (see link). Many site owners have not made a change. In mid-June 2016, it was announced that 30% of websites have switched to the HTTPS protocol
Additionally, with Google opening its new hosting service, they have reinforced the use of HTTPS.
HTTPS or HTTP for your website
If you have an e-commerce website, we highly recommend you to use an HTTPS protocol just to comfort your audience, it has been noticed that this protocol builds up the trust levels of your website users.
In fact, the HTTPS protocol is aimed at reinforcing the security of your website via the encryption of the content.
If you collect P2I data, it is crucial for you to secure the data of your customers, it is your responsibility as a site owner.
Additionally, be aware that the P2I of European citizens you collect must be stored within the EU borders.
If you do not host or collect sensitive data, HTTP protocol is still ok. However, we suggest you keep up with the search engine changes and business practices.
Need some help to set your site up with HTTPS, check our web development page.