Why Your Website Needs HTTPS
All internet sites need to prioritize security. Nevertheless , I still see a lot of sites out there that aren’t using HTTPS (Hypertext Exchange Protocol Secure).
For those of you who aren’t currently using HTTPS, that needs to alter immediately. If you don’t think it’s necessary or that essential, you’re mistaken.
The truth is, security impacts the performance of your website. Also, practically every single high-quality web site on the internet uses HTTPS. Consider it a strict requirement for your site.
Also six years ago, 85% of consumers avoided converting on unprotected ecommerce websites. 82% associated with internet users won’t even search on a website that’s not really secure.
Now, consumers and software developers alike value internet security more than ever. This was produced even more evident in 2018 when Google began flagging non-HTTPS websites as “not secure” to their users, as well as factoring it into a website’s search rankings.
Plus, with cybersecurity attacks more common than ever, it’s important for companies large and small in order to implement as many measures in place to protect themselves and their own customers as possible. Get rid of that will “it won’t happen to me” mindset.
HTTPS has become more and more commonplace since time moves on, too.
Though HTTPS utilization is becoming increasingly common, nearly 30% of websites nevertheless aren’t using it. In my opinion, that number is just far too high. That’s what inspired me to write this guide.
In case you fall into that category, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about HTTPS, why you need it, and how to have it for your website.
Remember: Website safety is all about trust. You want people to feel safe and secure with your company. If they don’t, they will not feel confident enough to make a purchase.
HTTPS helps give them that confidence.
What is HTTPS?
Hypertext transfer protocols are the rules used to transfer information on a web page from a server to a web browser.
Any time a user navigates to a URL, their browser essentially opens up a type of communication with the site’s server. The browser downloads the info required to render that particular web page.
Along with HTTP, this communication occurs with plain text, meaning any third-party can access the communication between the machine and browser. If this happens, personal and sensitive information can be stolen.
To make the communication private, web sites use HTTPS. With HTTPS, the same conversation takes place among a server and internet browser, except the information is secured by SSL/TLS [Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security] encryption.
The technology renders the information transferred from a user’s web browser to the server unattainable to read for would-be cyber-terrorist by leveraging two “keys” (algorithms that encrypt data):
- Public key. This key encrypts the data of anyone who wants to accessibility the server and the sites on it.
- Private key. This key decrypts the information encrypted by the general public key. Only the website owners get access to this key.
This process associated with encrypting and decrypting is otherwise known as “authentication. ”
As being a server sends a web web page to a browser, that web page receives a digital signature that will shows whether or not it has been seen by hackers.
This prevents third-party bad actors from being able to steal personal data such as the user’s location and any financial transactions taking place.
Why HTTPS is certainly Mandatory
HTTPS isn’t just a “nice issue to have. ” It’s utterly essential if you want to create and control a successful website for your business. This is especially true if you run an ecommerce website or if you wish to accept personal information from your website visitors and customers.
But it’s not just about getting your users’ trust (though that’s arguably the most important thing). Here are the top benefits of incorporating HTTPS to your website.
I briefly explained previously that without HTTPS, your server could be vulnerable to the cyber attack from a third party disguised as a user’s web browser. Obviously, you don’t want to put your server or website at risk for any attacks like that.
Yet what’s arguably even more important is the privacy, safety, plus security of your website visitors. Like a webmaster, it’s your obligation to protect these people.
The last thing you want is for individuals to get hacked or have delicate information stolen as a result of navigating to your website. Not only is it bad for any visitors and damaging to your reputation, but it also adds a headaches that could have been avoided if you put some simple safety measures in place.
So for the sake of managing your online reputation, you need to be using HTTPS.
This is especially true should you be collecting sensitive information like names, addresses, and credit card data.
Even though you’re not processing bank cards, other types of websites legally need to keep user details safe. For example , if you’re gathering any health or medical data through form fields on your website, you could be violating HIPAA (Health Insurance Moveability and Accountability Act of 1996) if you’re not using HTTPS to secure the information.
You want people to trust your website. HTTPS goes a long way in order to securing that trust.
That’s because internet browsers are flagging unsecure web sites. Google Chrome even goes so far as flagging sites that are not secure. These warnings create websites appear untrustworthy.
Here’s what Stainless- users see if they’re looking to access a site that’s not using HTTPS.
If you saw this message, would you still the website? Probably not. It’d function as the equivalent of driving around a big sign in the road that will says “MINEFIELD AHEAD! USUALLY DO NOT ENTER. ”
So if people are getting this warning as they try to navigate to your site, there’s a great chance that they won’t continue. They probably won’t come back in the future either.
Chrome isn’t the only internet browser that issues this type of caution. Users who browse the web using Safari will see an identical warning for unsecured sites.
Just for good measure, let’s take a look at what happens if you’re using Firefox and navigate to a website not using HTTPS.
Each of these notifications is clearly a caution message, urging the user to keep away from the website in question. This directly impacts your website’s ability to generate leads and– therefore– your bottom line (more on that later).
HTTPS eliminates the loss of trust that this barrier produces in potential visitors.
Any time you’re planning to make a change to your website, you need to know exactly how that decision is going to impact your SEO ranking. After all, it is one of the most powerful channels to attract new visitors and customers.
When it comes to search engines and SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, Google must be the driving force behind your approach. Back in 2014, Google declared that HTTPS would become a factor in its search ranking algorithms.
Here is an research from that announcement:
In summary, Google was telling all webmasters that they are encouraging HTTPS and will be rewarding sites who use it.
That alone should be enough for you to make the switch. Should you be not prioritizing SEO, you’re going to have a tough time getting traffic to your website. But by simply making the change from HTTP in order to HTTPS, Google will give you a boost in your search ranking.
Gary Illyes, a internet marketer trends analyst at Google, was quoted saying that HTTPS would even break a tie between two web sites with equal quality indicators. So making the modify to HTTPS could be the distinction between your site making the first or second page associated with Google, which is huge.
Lead generation and conversions
This piggybacks off of my last point about trust. If your site isn’t using HTTPS, customers will be reluctant to get around to your website. Even if they do have the ability to visit your site, they probably won’t fill out any leads generation forms.
Even though it’s something as simple because providing their email address, customers will hesitate if they think that a third-party will get access to the information. Especially considering that those parties could send all of them malicious emails pretending in the future from your website.
They’ll be more confident completing form fields and transforming into leads. People are anxious about credit card fraud since it is, so it’s your obligation to let them know that the connection is safe.
Here is an example of a secure payment page from the Oakley internet site.
As you can see, HTTPS appears in the domain. But close to that, there is a lock image, which is used by Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari as another indicator that the site is secure.
If you click on the icon, you’ll get a more in-depth explanation about the security of the website. It even particularly says that passwords plus credit card information are safe and being sent over a private connection.
Along with HTTPS, site visitors will have that extra sense of protection and feel safe when they’re completing the purchase process.
Ways to get HTTPS for your website
Now that you understand the significance of HTTPS, it’s time to have it set up for your website.
But where would you start? Luckily, the process of setting up HTTPS on your website is pretty straightforward and simple.
Here are the four steps to take care of this today:
Stage #1: Buy an SSL certificate
The very first thing you need to do is purchase an SSL certificate. You can do this on platforms like SSLs. possuindo or NameCheap. Both of these sites have SSL certificate choices for less than $10 per year. They also offer different pricing plans depending on what you’re looking for as well as for how many sites you have.
The best website hosting services will usually offer a free of charge SSL certificate. This is fine because they’re typically much more hands off. After all, it is about with your web host so you won’t have to buy it.
However , your company might need a different certificate depending on what you do (e. g. a huge ecommerce company might need an extended validation certificate that your hosting company might not offer).
That’s an added incentive for webmasters to use those providers. You should definitely take this into account if you’re creating a new website or if you’re looking to change hosting providers.
Step #2: Install the certificate
Following, a web developer will need to configure your site and install the SSL certificate on your machine.
Until you have experience with web growth, I wouldn’t recommend achieving this on your own. It requires a bit of in-depth knowledge on managing your own website’s backend. And if a person mess up, you could end up with mixed content errors (see step 3).
Of course , if the SSL certificate is included in your web hosting, a person won’t have to worry about installation either.
In addition to web hosting providers, it’s also worth noting that the greatest website builders and e-commerce platforms will usually offer a totally free SSL certificate as well. Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Shopify, and BigCommerce are just a handful of systems that offer SSL certificates if you sign up.
Action #3: Check for errors
Once the certificate has been installed, you’ll need to check all of your web pages to ensure that it is been done properly. Look for mixed content errors, which usually happens if a web page is referencing non-HTTPS elements.
Usually, it’s easy to repair these. However , other times it can be a bit more complex. That’s why it’s important to have a professional handle the conversion to HTTPS instead of just trying to do it yourself.
If you do turn to an IT pro, make sure to discuss what happens if there are mixed content errors purchase the SSL certification.
Step #4: Notify Google
Be proactive and notify Google once you’ve added HTTPS to your site. You can do this through Google Search Console. You can do this by including our new HTTPS url to your website’s sitemap:
Search engines will crawl your HTTPS site and re-index this in their database. You could await them to crawl it instantly, but there’s no cause to wait. The sooner this happens, the sooner you’ll get the SEO benefits.
Keep in mind, your rankings might actually decline at first when you switch your website to HTTPS. That’s normal. You could expect your site to be back where it was (or better) after Google has a chance to re-index all of your content.
Going Beyond HTTPS
Of course , there is a lot more that goes into website security than just HTTPS.
If you’re thinking about taking more steps to make certain your website is safe from cyber-terrorist, here are a few areas you should keep in your mind:
Choose a safe web hosting provider
A safe website starts with a safe web host. That is why you need to research and vet your web hosting options for security and privacy before you leap into one.
All of the best web hosting services offer layers of security plus protection to their websites. However , that doesn’t necessarily mean your website is completely out of the woods.
For example , shared hosting plans put multiple websites on a single server. While that might maintain your hosting prices low, it indicates that your website is more vulnerable.
That is because if another site within the server is targeted, hackers might be able to harm your website as well even though you’re not necessarily the target .
This does not mean that shared web hosting is poor. However , if you really want to period website security seriously, you should consider upgrading to Cloud, VPS, or even dedicated hosting choices.
Protected your personal and work computer systems
Any personal computer that you and your employees use to access your company’s web site needs to be secure. That’s because hackers can place harmful malware onto your computer which allows them to access your website’s login information.
From there, it’s a simple matter of logging into your website and accessing potentially sensitive information such as your own customers’ financial information and personal details.
To guard against this, you will need to install great antivirus software onto your pc. You’ll also want to regularly scan your computer for spyware and adware, spam, and adware.
Move deeper: Looking for some good software to help? Here is our list of the best endpoint security software out there.
This is a constant process. That means you can’t just install it and forget about it. Hackers spend their days figuring out new ways to crack your computers and websites. So you need to regularly up-date your antivirus software and scan your computer to keep up.
Speaking of updates…
Keep every thing updated
Everything from your personal computer, to your malware software, to your content management system (CMS), to your plugins needs to be up-to-date. This will help assure it has the latest security actions to protect you from cyber criminals.
Remember, the evil-doers of the internet planet are hard at work each day coming up with new and innovative ways to access your digital information. That’s why you need to make sure you have the latest measures put in place to fight them back.
This really is especially important because many cyber attacks are automatic nowadays. Hackers leverage robots that target websites with old security measures or even none at all.
So regularly check every piece of software and hardware that touches your website’s infrastructure for updates. Doing so takes time and energy– but can save you a ton of money and headaches down the road.
Leverage good security plugins
Your website’s CMS most likely offers downloadable plugins that will help fight against bots plus viruses. These tools help keep track of your website for you and prevent episodes before they occur.
Go much deeper: If you use WordPress, we have a great guide at the best WordPress security plugins. The plugins help you combat malware, spam, and other risks by building a solid firewall for your website.
If you don’t use WordPress, inspect website’s CMS for what they offer in terms of security plus privacy plugins. You might have to fund it but the cost is a no brainer peace of mind and protection for your website’s visitors.
Regularly backup your site
Of course , the very best laid plans often go awry. The same goes for your website.
You might have the best protection plugins with a crack group of webmasters managing almost everything, but you still manage to get hacked. When that happens, your website might be taken down and you could shed everything.
Which is, unless you back up your website regularly. This will ensure that you don’t eliminate all of your hard work because of one particular security incident.
There are a lot of backup plugins around to help. We recommend using BackupBuddy. It’s one of the five best WordPress backup extensions in our review.
Every website needs to have HTTPS.
It’s downright essential for any website– but especially if you’re an ecommerce company looking to build rely on and conversions. This isn’t simply something you can just disregard. Doing so will result in visitors switching away from your website in favor of one of your competitors who does take web site security seriously.
Plus, adding HTTPS to your website is easy. Just follow the simple four-step process described above. Doing so will take some time, but result in massive benefits.
The best part: This is a set-it-and-forget-it situation. Once you’ve enabled HTTPS, pat yourself on the back again. You don’t have to worry about it any longer!