HTTPS secures the connection to the website you are visiting. You’ve probably seen it in action: look at the address bar in your browser and find the padlock icon on the left side. Is the padlock closed? Then the connection is secure. Is the lock open or is there another type of icon? Then it is unsafe and vulnerable to attack. Using the site through an insecure connection means that hackers or criminals can intercept the data you send to the site, such as your password and email address. In this article you will learn all the basic information about HTTPS protocols.
What is https?
Let’s start with the basics. The “S” at the end of the “http” URL means that the website is secure. HTTPS (Hypertext Transport Protocol Security) or secure sites include a 2048-bit SSL key and can protect site connections through authentication and encryption. When installed on a web server, an SSL certificate activates the lock and https protocol and provides a secure connection to the web server with the browser.
Simply put, it is a secure version of the protocol for transferring information from your website to its visitor. “S” stands for secure. This method provides a secure connection between the user’s browser and the web server. This often means that a green address bar or padlock appears in the browser window, indicating a secure connection.
Secure websites can protect a user’s connection by securing information on three levels:
- Encryption ensures that user actions cannot be tracked or their information stolen.
- Data integrity prevents file corruption during transmission.
- And authentication protects against attacks and increases user trust.
Why do you need https?
Traditionally, HTTPS was used by Ecommerce retailers or others accepting online payments to ensure that sensitive payment details were sent securely to prevent them from being stolen by malicious hackers.
However, improving online security has become increasingly important in recent years and Google has been at the forefront of this movement. So much so that Google has announced that HTTPS is a factor in their ranking algorithm, which has accelerated the transition to HTTPS.
Which sites need to switch to https?
HTTPS is highly recommended for any business that aims to attract visitors to their site, secure their site, achieve high rankings and secure their operations in the future. For any site, regardless of subject matter, traffic and volume, a transition to a secure protocol is required.
If you are planning to start a new project, you need to set it as https from the very beginning, and if your website is currently using http, you should make a plan to switch to https as soon as possible. Failure to switch is simply delaying the inevitable.
Here are three main categories of sites that should take care of this first:
- E-commerce. The https protocol is the main component of secure shopping, 64% of customers make purchases where their payment card data is securely protected.
- Information collection. If sites offer memberships or anything that involves collecting email addresses and other sensitive information, then https is a good idea. It is always wise to keep customer information as secure as possible.
- Use of feedback forms. The same applies if sites use any form where users will submit information, documents or images. It is surprising how much information is collected about site visitors, so it is worth storing it as securely as possible.
Advantages of the transition
1. Increase in Google ranking.
More than 40% of sites on the first page of Google have a secure flow, which is not surprising, as it has been confirmed that they prefer such resources. Google wants to provide maximum convenience for their customers, so they do not want to send search engines to unsafe sites. If your site is not protected, it can be overtaken by competitors.
2. Increased security.
The most secure web experience is the main reason for all the actions of the leading search engines. A cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds and 43% of these cyber attacks target small businesses. Google is constantly adding criteria to the ranking algorithm, so it has already proven to provide a better user experience. HTTPS protects your users’ information and data from hackers. As secure as possible is simply the best option for everyone.
3. Updated browser shortcuts
Are you tired of hearing about Google yet? There is one more thing. As part of their efforts to create a more secure web, Google is also updating their labels for non-sensitive sites in the Chrome URL bar. Currently, HTTP sites are marked with a gray information symbol that informs the user that the site is not secure. There is a “Unsecured” label next to the domain name that is displayed on a normal site. Although this label only means that your site does not have HTTPS code, users do not fully understand this, and many feel uncomfortable seeing this label on a website.
4. Increase conversions.
While users may not have a full technical understanding of secure connections, they understand that they want their personal information to be protected. There is already a difference in conversion rates between HTTP and HTTPS sites. It will only increase over time.
5. Increasing customer confidence.
Due to the high noise, more and more users are specifically looking for a secure connection when visiting a website. It gives your customers confidence that you and your resource can be trusted and their information is safe.
Disadvantages of the transition.
Previously, it happened that https sites significantly increased the load on the server, which led to loading times. In addition, security certificates were expensive. These problems have long been solved. Everything now works much faster and the cost of SSL certificates is ideal for most sites. Many of them offer additional services at a reasonable price.
Despite the fact that the transition process is a one-way street, many have not yet done it. Why? Most often they are just considering different options. The process itself consists of four stages:
- Obtain a certificate from a trusted certification authority.
- Install it on your website hosting account.
- Setting up site redirection to the new protocol.
- Notify search engines about changes in the name of your resource.