Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a fundamental protocol that is used by the World Wide Web for viewing website content on the internet. HTTP allows us to browse the internet and navigate to our favourite websites.
HTTP was not initially created with security in mind, and this meant that any information communicated between your computer and the website was transmitted in plain text. Therefore, HTTPS, the S standing for secure, began to be incorporated across websites to improve overall security. With this in place, information entered on any web forms is encrypted in transit to ensure that it cannot be read by malicious actors.
There are a variety of ways to check if a website has HTTPS – the most common of which is by checking the address bar on your browser. In popular browsers, HTTPS websites will have a closed padlock icon next to the web address and will start with “https://” rather than “http://”. If a website requires that you enter any personal information, and especially if you are required to enter payment card details, you should be certain that the website is using HTTPS to ensure the safety of your information. This is especially important for personal or sensitive information (e.g. DOB, e-mail, or credit card information), as it renders this data unreadable during transfer.
HTTPS is not always a mandatory feature for some websites. If you do not need to enter any information onto a website, but it is instead used to show products and services, then they may opt for HTTP over HTTPS for improved performance. The important thing to consider is that you should never enter your information into any form online unless the website offers HTTPS to provide adequate protection.