Web security is a crucial element to the overall health of any website and HTTPS ensures users can access your site safely. HTTPS or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, adds a layer of protection to your website, making it harder to theoretically peer into the website and capture sensitive user information.
HTTPS is also a requirement for many new browser features, particularly those required for progressive web apps, and the latest iterations of Chrome browser will give a ‘not secure’ warning and other browsers are expected to follow in the next few months.
Because Google are pushing the move towards HTTPS, there are also positive implications for SEO and rankings.
How HTTPS works?
HTTPS uses a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate, to encrypt the data shared between your server and the receiving device. The SSL Certificate is a code that scrambles the information, so that information can only be viewed between a sender and recipient. If anyone tries to look at what’s happening, it’ll come across as scrambled data. This is extremely important not just when handling sensitive information like credit cards, but for general viewing safety.
HTTPS protects the privacy and security of your users
One common misconception about HTTPS is that the only websites that need HTTPS are those that handle sensitive communications. Every unprotected HTTP request can potentially reveal information about the behaviours and identities of users. Although a single visit to one of your unprotected websites may seem benign, some intruders look at the aggregate browsing activities of your users to make inferences about their behaviours and intentions, and to de-anonymize their identities. For example, employees might inadvertently disclose sensitive health conditions to their employers just by reading unprotected medical articles.
How to switch to HTTPS?
Switching to HTTPS is usually a relatively simple process, but it will differ for every website, depending on where it is hosted, how up to date the software and files are, and if database access is available.