For the non-technical website owner, switching your site from http to https may seem like a daunting task. And to be fair, depending on your situation, it might not be a piece of cake. As the Internet moves towards tighter security however, the work will prove to be well worth it.
Serving up websites over HTTPS is fast becoming the standard. According to Digital Trends, over half of website loads occur over encrypted connections. Let’s talk about why this is the case.
HTTP & HTTPS: What’s the Difference?
The “S” in HTTPS means “Secure” and there are a few reasons for this. Sites that use HTTPS encrypt the data sent between the web browser and the web server.
Encryption provided by HTTPS is critically important in web sites where the user passes information to the server. It helps to ensure the data passing back and forth can’t be read by a third party. If you run a web store that processes personal information such as names, addresses, or credit card numbers then it’s paramount for that information to be transmitted securely. In order to encrypt data using HTTPS, your website must have an SSL certificate. Certificates are provided by trusted authorities who make it their job to ensure that sites remain secure.
Sending or receiving data over a site that uses HTTPS ensures the data can’t be changed or corrupted without being detected. As a result, your website visitors can be confident that they’re receiving correct information. Conversely, as a website owner, you can be sure that the information sent to you by your visitors is also correct. Because of this, data integrity helps prevent and protect against man-in-the-middle attacks.
When a user types in your website address, they must trust that they’ve landed at the site located on your server and not some lookalike site. The only way to currently provide this trust is with an SSL certificate used by HTTPS.
Advantages of Implementing HTTPS
In addition to those advantages already mentioned, using HTTPS builds customer trust and provides a sense of authority on your websites. Personally, I’d never purchase anything online if I didn’t see the little Secure lock in my browser. Potential customers are more likely to complete a purchase online when SSL encryption is used.
Even if your site doesn’t request personal information from your visitors, using HTTPS is a great reputation builder. Technical customers are more likely to do business with companies that run HTTPS websites vs. those who only use HTTP. In fact, many Internet users these days don’t even consider sites running on HTTP to be real websites.
SEO Advantages to Implementing HTTPS/SSL
If your website traffic primarily relies on SEO results to be ranked by search engines, then implementing HTTPS is critical. Google has confirmed that they give ranking preference to sites running HTTPS vs. those which do not.
Whether you’re a blogger or a content marketer, the conversion to HTTPS can result in better website traffic. If for some reason down the road you decide to sell products directly from your website, you won’t have to worry about making the conversion.
Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He's also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.