HTTP and HTTPS are two protocols used for transferring data between a client and a server. The key difference between these protocols is that HTTPS is a more secure version of HTTP. While HTTP allows a browser to request and retrieve information from a server, HTTPS adds encryption to the transmitted data.
HTTPS uses a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate to encrypt data. This certificate confirms that the website is legitimate and that the transmitted data is encrypted. However, obtaining an SSL/TLS certificate can be costly for smaller websites, and not all websites use HTTPS.
What to Do & Options
When you encounter an HTTP website, you may see warnings or errors in your browser that indicate the website is insecure. Some common examples are:
"Not Secure" warning: In Google Chrome and other browsers, you may see a "Not Secure" warning in the address bar of an HTTP website. This indicates that the website is not encrypted and that any information you enter on the site could be intercepted by hackers.
Certificate errors: If an HTTPS website's SSL/TLS certificate is not properly configured or expired, your browser may display a warning message that the certificate is invalid or untrusted.
Mixed content warnings: Your browser may display a mixed content warning if an HTTPS website contains unencrypted elements, such as images or scripts. This indicates that some parts of the page are not secure and could be intercepted by hackers.
Browser blocking: Some browsers may block access to HTTP websites altogether or display a warning before allowing access.
If you encounter an HTTP website, there are a few things you can do to protect your personal information. First, avoid entering sensitive information such as passwords, credit card details, or personal information on an HTTP website.
You can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your data. A VPN creates a secure and encrypted connection between your device and the internet, protecting your data from interception. Another option is to use a web extension that forces HTTPS. These extensions automatically redirect you from HTTP websites to the HTTPS version of the same website, providing an additional layer of security.
It's important to be cautious when encountering these warnings or errors on an HTTP website. You can still visit these websites but should carefully analyze the information entered. Avoid entering sensitive information on the site and consider using a VPN or web extension that forces HTTPS to protect your data.