What is Https and SSL Certificate?
Http stands for “hypertext transfer protocol,” which is the protocol your browser uses to talk to the websites you visit. The “S” in https stands for “secure”. This means that your browser is communicating with the web server on a secure line. The SSL, or secure sockets layer, certificate required for https websites ensures that browsers haven’t stumbled onto an imposter site, and that any information sent between the browser and the site is encrypted and safe.
In early 2017, Google reported that 50% of front page search results were secured sites, and over 50% of web traffic is now encrypted. This figure is an all-time high, and definitely shows a transition taking place to a fully-secured web.
Users certainly prefer secured sites. When warned about an unsecured site by their browser, over 80% of users leave the webpage. What this means for you is that, regardless of ranking algorithms and penalties, it’s going to cost you traffic, leads, and sales if you choose not to make the switch.
Benefits of https
The SSL and TSL encryption on https websites doesn’t require any extra equipment or CPU or memory. There is an increase seen compared to http, but that increase is negligible. Most top browsers currently support http/2, which is an improvement on http, and it provides users with many benefits, including increased browsing speeds. For users to experience these benefits on your site, however, your site must be https.
Issues with https
The security has gotten much better recently, but there is still a small risk of vulnerability in https deployment. This will cause users to believe that their browser’s communication with your site is secured when it’s actually compromised. There’s also the issue of false warnings from browsers when mixed content is brought on to an https website over an unencrypted connection. This will cause users to think that your website is compromised.
Changing to https
The steps to switching to https are a bit more complicated than this, but just to give you a general idea of what’s involved, we’ll run through the basics. Before buying your SSL certificate, make sure all aspects of your website are prepared. There will likely be some downtime, so don’t start the switch during your peak traffic season, and make sure your host is capable of making this switch with you. When you’re ready, buy the SSL certificate, and have your hosting company configure everything for you. This type of assistance is what you’re paying them for, and Average Joe won’t have the first clue how to do this. Change all of your website links to https, and set up redirects from http to https.
Although the process is quite complicated, the benefits of an https website with SSL certificate are well worth the effort. We’ll soon find ourselves navigating a fully secure web, with unsecured sites getting flagged, penalized and deindexed. At the very least, users will continue to shun unsecured sites. The faster speeds and SEO benefits will quickly raise https websites through the ranks and leave http behind.