When it comes to browsing, accessing, and using the internet - HTTP and HTTPS are quite literally invaluable, providing the link between you sitting at home and that wonderful content coming straight from the archives of the internet.
See, HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and essentially allows for 2 computers to ‘talk’ to each other by transferring data in the hypertext format, which (however oversimplified) looks a little like that seen below.
HTTPS is different in that the ‘S’ stands for Secure, meaning that the data sent between you and the server is fully encrypted and decrypted from end-to-end - making it harder for those who aren’t meant to, in seeing what you and the server are exchanging. This can be seen below in the seemingly random strings of characters that are only readable by the server and the client themselves - removing the huge security risk of the someone or something intercepting your web traffic in transit.
So why on Earth do you actually need HTTPS on your website?
Probably the greatest benefit to using HTTPS is in Data Integrity, meaning even if hackers manage to capture the data they are unable to read or modify it as they would basically see the meaningless jumble of characters depicted above, unable to decrypt it.
Further, in terms of Privacy, the inability for someone else to monitor communication between a client and your site - particularly when filling out sensitive forms and taking payments - becomes invaluable not only for your customer’s security, but also your own.
But Finley, I’m not taking payments on my site, people just read my content - why should I bother with all of this?
Well, HTTPS is more than just security, in fact it allows for:
Faster Performance: By reducing the size of data being transmitted in encrypting it, HTTPS allows for faster Web performance compared to HTTP.
Better SEO: Google really loves secure content and using HTTPS allows for increase in your SEO ranking. On the other foot however, Google Chrome will show a Not Secure label in the browser in addition to not ranking the site preferably if users' data is collected over HTTP in an attempt to discourage the use of HTTP connections.
An Internet of the Future: HTTPS is slowly but surely creating a more secure, performance oriented internet with the safety of users and website owners in mind.
So with all of this in mind, HTTPS should be a high priority for your website to ensure security and performance.