HTTPS: What it is and why your website should have it - Factor 3

HTTPS: What it is and why your website should have it

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In a world where cyber-crime is constantly on the rise, it is important for website owners to do everything they can to protect and secure their website, and the people that use them.

Firstly, how do you know if the website you’re on is secure?

Most browsers display a green bar with a padlock symbol next to the address bar, and the URL will also begin with ‘https’. For example:

an example of the Https prefix within the address bar and the green padlock - both of which show that a ssl certificate is installed on the website

What is HTTPS, and why do you need it?

HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol. It’s a protocol that allows communication between different systems. Most commonly, it is used for transferring data from a web server to a browser to view web pages.

The problem is that HTTP data is not encrypted, and it can be intercepted by third parties to gather data being passed between the two systems.

This can be addressed by using a secure version called HTTPS, where the “S” stands for secure.

This involves the use of an SSL certificate.

Without HTTPS, any data passed is insecure. This is especially important for sites where sensitive data is passed across the connection, such as eCommerce sites that accept online card payments, or login areas that require users to enter their credentials.

What is an SSL certificate?

A SSL certificate encrypts the information sent between a website and a user’s device so it cannot be read by others when it is sent across the internet, having one creates a secure ‘https’ connection.

If you’ve ever bought anything online, for example from Amazon or eBay, or logged in to a social network like Twitter, you have used a site that has a SSL certificate, and therefore a HTTPS connection, without realising it.

Most online shoppers (we hope) are savvy enough to know that they should only shop on a site that has an HTTPS connection. However, there are still a lot of websites that offer login areas, contact forms or email sign-up forms without a SSL Certificate.

HTTPS creates trust

If there’s no trust, there’s no desire to purchase (or convert).

The padlock image and ‘HTTPS’ show a site is secured with a SSL Certificate and therefore creates trust, making it more likely for users to convert.

Research has shown that conversion rates increase once a SSL Certificate has been installed on a site. Investing in a secure website can have a huge impact on web traffic and web conversions.

Search Ranking Boost

In August 2014, Google stated that they were using ‘HTTPS’ as a ranking signal, and a secure HTTPS connection would be rewarded in search engines. For now, it’s only a very lightweight signal – affecting fewer than 1% of global queries.

However, Google is a huge advocate of online security and has called for HTTPS everywhere on the web. Installing a SSL on your site will help to future proof your site and align it with the plans that Google has for its search engine algorithms and the web in general.

SSL means better security

SSL Certificates add a layer of security that protects against online threats. This secure layer prevents hackers from stealing your user’s information or any other data that is transmitted between your site and the users computer. It is recommended that companies who use their website to handle sensitive information have a SSL certificate.

Non-E-Commerce sites are at risk as well. If your site uses a contact form or newsletter sign-up form it is recommended that you have a SSL Certificate too.

If we host your website and you would like to discuss implementing a SSL certificate on your site – please get in touch.

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