HTTP vs HTTPS

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One letter can stand in the way of boosting your search ranking to the top spot. That letter is, “S”. The S stands for “secure socket layer” or SSL. Stop reading this for just one second and take a look at your Internet browser. Head to your company’s website and peek at the URL. You will see only one of two things. Either “http” or “https”, along with (or without) a lock icon. Hopefully you see that your website URL reads “https” …alongside a lock icon. Why? Security!

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You’ve probably never paid much attention to the URL of your own website when you visit it anyway, but now is the time to really take notice, because it can make a huge difference in the security, interaction, and SEO of your website.

 

HTTPS, or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, is the safe and secure form of HTTP, hence the “S” meaning “secure”. The difference between the two and what makes the former safer for business, is encryption. Websites that you visit that carry the “S” in the URL, invite the user to use a secure connection, as opposed to insecure connection, which may potentially open the door for harmful consequences to the data being shared.

Check it out: Virtual First Impression


SSL Certificate

It’s a common misconception that only websites that handle and protect sensitive data should need to have the HTTPS, but that’s not true. Every insecure website has the potential to reveal information of any kind about the user’s identity. The SSL is the indicator in the URL showing that your site is secure. Along with protecting information and identity, the SSL certificate also increases your Google rankings when searched, builds and enhances trust with users, and ultimately improves conversion rates.

 

SSL certificates are issued from a Certificate Authority, which are kept in a maintained list from browsers, OS, and mobile devices.


Why Do I Actually Need This?

Any information that is shared over a website with HTTP, are in “plain text”, which makes it much easier for hackers to gain access and control of the information by breaking into the connection of your chosen browser and your website. For some companies, this may mean access to financial (credit, debit card) information, addresses, or social security numbers in some cases, even for those companies who do not share this type of sensitive information in their website, as previously stated, there is still opportunity for hackers to gain knowledge and access to user’s habits and identity in one way or another.


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SEO

Competition is tight when it comes to technology and websites. It’s an arms race for many companies in the same industry when attempting to win over users by attracting them to your business. The website needs to be well done and appeal to the users, while representing who you are as a business. But the competition gets an easy win if your website does not carry the “S” in the URL. You will lose almost every time if the competition has HTTPS and you do not. Google’s algorithm takes into account the security of the website request of the user and will show them the safest sites. If yours does not make the list over the competition, you will miss out on searches.

Check it out: What Is GDPR and Why Should You Care?

How to Install HTTPS

 

Step 1.   

Check with your web hosting plan. Many will come with an SSL certificate. If so, double check that it offers the type of security you need. If you are not offered a certificate, check the options for your web company. Choose a plan that works best for your needs.

 

Step 2.   

You’ve selected an SSL certificate, now go ahead and buy it. This will begin the verification process. This can be a very short process, or a mildly lengthy one, depending on the website.

 

Step 3.   

Now it’s time to install the certificate! Depending on where you purchased the certificate from, it may be automatically applied once the verification process is complete. If not, follow the prompt to installation.

 

Step 4.   

Now the certificate is installed, double check that it works. Log out of the web host you are using and return to visit your website. Check that address bar to see that HTTPS is finally there, along with the security lock icon, and even a green bar or business name. Check all minor details and then you’re good to go!


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Alex Willis