Microsoft has announced that it’s bringing Automatic HTTPS to its Edge browser with version 92. It’s currently available in preview through the Dev and Canary channels.
Here’s how it works. When you type a URL, you’re obviously not starting it off with “http” or “https”. What the browser does right now is it defaults to HTTP and then redirects to HTTPS if the website supports it. Now, it’s going to use HTTPS by default.
But Microsoft Edge is only going to use Automatic HTTPS if it thinks the website is “highly likely” to support the more secure protocol, at least by default. It has a list of websites that apparently includes hundreds of thousands of domains.
You can actually turn this feature up a notch though. There’s a feature you can find in edge://settings/privacy where you can change it so that all websites switch from HTTP to HTTPS. It also notes that if you choose this, there might be more connection errors.
Using websites with HTTPS is important because it’s more secure, or more specifically, because regular old HTTP is tremendously unsecure. As Microsoft puts it, with HTTP, bad actors can view or change your internet traffic while it’s in transit. In short, internet traffic can be intercepted, and if it’s not secure, it can be manipulated.
If you’re on the Dev or Canary channel and you don’t have it yet, you can enable a flag under edge://flags/#edge-automatic-https. After that, you should see the feature in Settings.
While this is in the Dev and Canary channels right now, it will probably arrive in Beta once Edge 92 ships to the channel. That’s scheduled to happen the week of June 8, so it won’t be a long wait. Of course, Microsoft could choose to hold it back for Edge 93 if it wanted to.
Google Chrome, on the other hand, has had this feature since Chrome 90. Being that it’s a security feature, one might expect that Microsoft would be working hard to catch up and get this in everyone’s hands when Edge 92 is released to the Stable channel during the week of July 22.