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What Is HTTPS and Why Is It So Important?
6 Apr 2016
Google are trying to make the internet a better and safer place for the user. If your site isn’t HTTPS, your users may get warnings about the security of your site on certain types of pages.
What is HTTPS?
We’re all familiar with HTTP but what does that ‘S’ mean? It means when accessing a web site, all web traffic between your web browser and the website uses the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – in other words, it is encrypted. Now, if anyone tries to hack into the message, all they will see is gibberish. Another important feature is that because the site’s identity is tied to a private and public key, it means the site is genuine.
Main benefits of using HTTPS?
One of the main benefits of implementing https is that they make your website safe and secure. Here is an example how you should be able to identify a HTTPS website.
The information displayed here means that the website’s identity has been verified by Google and you have also successfully established a secure connection to the site. This is especially important for a website that takes any form of sensitive information from a user, such as the user’s credit card information for processing a payment. Once this data is processed, HTTPS will provide a layer of protection to this data.
Another benefit is that those sites that use HTTPS will appear higher in Google rankings. Only recently, Google has started testing websites to see which ones use secure, encrypted connections. Even though it is currently only a small part of how Google decides on search rankings, it is without a doubt that it will continue become more and more important in the coming years. As Google stated themselves, “we may decide to strengthen it (the emphasis on this area), because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
Also, once you have implemented HTTPS on your website, Google allows you to test the website to see it’s security level.
When to Implement HTTPS?
How do you know if you need to implement the HTTPS on your website?
Firstly, if you run an e-commerce site or a site that processes payments or personal information it is crucial to have HTTPS, if not on the whole site then at least on the pages that are handling payments or critical data.
Secondly, you can do it to slightly increase your ranking in search. This won’t immediately help the rankings in a big way, but it might in the future.
If your website is only requesting e-mail addresses or blog signups, having HTTPS is not that important.
Not every website out there uses the HTTPS at the moment, but a large proportion do. However, based on recent comments made by Google, sooner rather than later this option will become a crucial part of online security and search rankings. Ultimately, though, it is up to you to decide whether HTTPS is important for your site or not.