Should you choose https over http? Is it worth it?

In case you haven’t noticed, most things are online now: TV listings, Microsoft, stress balls, Morgan Freeman. You can even use the internet to buy things. All kinds of things. In fact, it’s often much easier to buy things online than it is by phone or in-store. Now you might think, hold on internet man, you must be crazy, how can it be easier to buy things online than in a shop? Well, here are some examples.

Tickets: It’s basically easier to buy pretty much any tickets (besides maybe the traditional circus or carnival ones) online than it is anywhere else. Particularly if it’s for a big event. Take the Glastonbury festival, for instance. When those golden tickets go on-sale you better believe you’re not getting through to any human person on the phone, however you might have some luck online (the operative word being “some”). Cinema tickets have now become the preserve of the online world and quite often you will actually get a discount for buying online with your trusty credit card, as the venue can guarantee sales and save queuing time, thereby hopefully getting more sales and money.

Used tissues and banana skins: It’s rare to be able to buy, used, soiled or worthless junk in the real world. Those places still do exist but it’s hard to find them. Not so online. Used crap is all over the internet. Online auctions are all the rage and you could be wasting all kinds of money you can’t afford to waste on goods no sane person would buy.

Books: Book stores are great; you should definitely buy stuff in bookstores. However they are really cheap online, just saying.

So they are some examples of things you can buy and ways you can save online. Of course if you are going to purchase things online you better be prepared to ensure that all your online transactions are secure. Fraud does happen. People have gotten scammed online and probably will again. However, like with most things, if you’re careful you can cut that risk down significantly. One of the simplest ways to ensure all your online transactions are secure is to look for the https certificate.

This takes the form of the letters “https” appearing at the start of a web address ie https://www.google.co.uk. Certificate Authorities issue HTTPS Certificates and follow a strict number of guidelines to ensure that that website is legitimate.

So first-things-first: how is “https” different from “http”, the letters that normally appear at the start of a web address? Http facilitates the transfer of data over the internet and stands for hypertext transfer protocol.

The basic difference between http and https is that http can be easily attacked, eavesdropped on and hacked into. If you are working off a http domain then your browsing and online data entry is not secure.

The main way https offers secure browsing is that the data transmitted is encrypted, unlike data transmitted using http. A lot of sites that feature sensitive information already use https, these include banking sites and online shops. Before entering any sensitive information online (and in particular credit or debit information) always make sure you see the “https” letters at the start of the domain.

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