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Why You Should Move From HTTP to HTTPS Right Now

With everything in the digital landscape moving so quickly, it’s easy to fall behind on a major changes. This includes HTTP to HTTP website migration. Continue reading to find out exactly what it is and how you can stay ahead.

What is HTTPS?

First of all, what does it even stand for? HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the more updated version of HTTP (without the Secure part). HTTPS means that computers (browsers and servers)  agree on a secret code between them that no one else can decipher. Think of it like a secret handshake. Any information you send over HTTPS is scrambled into a jumble of letters and numbers which only the recipient can decode.

An example would be when you connect to your bank’s website, you’re automatically transferred to the HTTPS website. The browser checks and makes sure this site’s security certificate actually comes from your bank and not a bank robber. Yes, people make fake websites to trick you into giving priceless information! So once you see the HTTPS in the search bar, you’re golden.

This whole procedure of encrypting information and exchanging it is called HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). (Source: How-To Geek)

Why is it important?

Not only does HTTPS give that extra security, but it also helps with your website’s general well-being.

Performance: Sites delivered over HTTP/2 are expected to perform 50-70% better (Source: KeyCDN) than sites over HTTP/1. To take advantage of this, your site needs to be run over HTTPS for browser support.

SEO: HTTPS might prove to be a heavier ranking signal with time. That’s why making the switch puts you ahead of the game.

Referral Data: HTTPS to HTTP referral data is blocked in Google Analytics. This means that if your HTTP website goes crazy viral on a HTTPS website like reddit, that referrer data doesn’t count! HTTPS likes other HTTPS. So you might as well make the switch before your 15 minutes of fame passes you by.

Builds trust: According to a survey from GlobalSign, 77% of website visitors (Source: KeyCDN) are concerned about their data being intercepted by the bad guys. So having that green padlock in the search bar of your site instantly adds credibility and confidence. Visitors know their info is safe and sound with you.

How to implement?

The process is pretty straightforward for making the switch. Here are the key things you need to know:

  1. Purchase a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate (the code that encrypts your site’s information)
  2. Put the SSL certificate on your website’s hosting account.
  3. Make sure all website links are changed to HTTPS so they don’t break.
  4. Set up 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS so search engines know of the switch and can redirect anyone to the new secure site.

For a more in-depth look, check out this great article by Search Engine Land.

Drawbacks

Don’t get us wrong, there are still some challenges involved with HTTPS. These include:

  • Cost: Commercial SSL certificates and modern servers cost money.
  • Complexity: It can be tricky moving from HTTP to HTTPS.
  • Temporary lower rankings: Search engines see this as a content move and won’t re-crawl and reprocess sites until every page is HTTPS.
  • Conflicts with the original WWW design: That “S” can break hyperlinks, which are very important to the internet. (Online.Marketing)

Benefits of HTTPS

For starters, when you send sensitive information over an HTTPS, no one can see. That’s why online banking and shopping are much safer nowadays.

Not only that, but just your average web browsing is protected, too. Google’s search engine now defaults to HTTPs which means no one knows how many of your searches start with, “weird rash.” Before, anyone on the same Wi-Fi network could take notice of your health concerns. If everything goes to HTTPS in the USA, ISPs won’t even see all this data. They’ll only see that you’re connected to a website. So carry on and good luck with that rash.

HTTP sites also allow your ISP to tamper with the content on any given page. If they want to add advertisements and modify the page in any way, they can. HTTPS prevents this kind of monkey business!

While moving your site to HTTPS might seem like a daunting task, it’s definitely worth it. Think of how safe visitors will feel once they see that magical green lock in the search bar. Not to mention the perks you’ll get from Google through ranking signals. So go ahead, take the plunge!

You can always free to reach out to our team of experts with your questions today!

{UPDATE} As of October 2017, Chrome will broadcast a “NOT SECURE” warning on any non-HTTPS page that has text fields for users. It’ll also show up on all HTTP pages for those in incognito mode. This means that as soon as someone starts typing their information on your website, they’ll be blinded by a warning sign telling them to run in the other direction. Talk about a mood killer!