What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Secure-Hyper-Text-Transfer-Protocol. HTTP protocol (without the ‘S’ for secure) is used for transfer of information from Web Server to a Web Client such as a browser. This information transfer is at the risk of being intercepted by third parties, to steal sensitive information. Until recently, HTTPS was recommended and mandatory for eCommerce websites that require sharing of payment information such as credit cards, bank account, SSN, etc. to allow for encrypted browsing & protect the information from being intercepted by third parties, when transferred from web server to a browser. Many businesses are now wondering whether to switch from HTTP to HTTPS or not. Here are some reasons why you should seriously consider switching.
Why Switch from HTTP to HTTPS
Google has been recommending business websites to move from HTTP to HTTPS since 2014, to make internet safe for browsing, even if eCommerce feature is not involved. As more and more webmasters are adopting HTTPS, Google is encouraged and taking the next steps towards using HTTP Vs. HTTPS as a ranking signal in search algorithm. By switching to HTTPS, you are not only improving the trust factor for your website while people of browsing, you are also gaining points from Google and improving the strength of your ranking signal.
Note that HTTPS is not going to prevent your website from being hacked. You need to take other precautions to prevent hacking. HTTPS will prevent from sensitive information such as login and passwords from being hijacked when transferred between Web Client and Web Server, on websites built with Content Management Systems such as WordPress. This will provide great deal of security for sensitive data.
Steps to Switch from HTTP to HTTPS
You have to purchase & install SSL (Secure Socket Layer Certificate) to enable browser encyption using HTTPS protocol. The process of switching to HTTPS is relatively simple nowadays with hosting companies like GoDaddy.
- Get in touch with your hosting provider (GoDaddy, IPage, Bluehost, etc.) to explore your options for SSL certificate and purchase
- Before installing the SSL certificate on the site, your hosting company will require you to verify ownership of the site. You will receive step-by-step email instructions on actions to take
- Once validation is completed, there is minimal or no action required from your side depending on the hosting company
- It typically takes up to few hrs – few days depending on the type of SSL certificate you purchase. Some certificates require more verification than others. For most websites, standard wild card SSL certificate is recommended and takes up to few hours
- If you have Google webmaster tools profile for the site, make sure you update the profile by adding https:// version of the domain to track
- Build a new sitemap and submit to Google Webmaster profile
- Google Analytics automatically detects HTTPS. No action required from your side
- Lastly if you have any hard coded links with http:// inside the site, change to https://. This is not required, since http:// will automatically redirect to https:// once the switch is completed
- That’s it! Next time you load your website, it will display beautiful GREEN SECURE LOCK instead of ‘i’
If you need help switching your website from HTTP to HTTPS, feel free to reach out to us.