The Importance of HTTPS and Why You Should Switch Right Now

Back in October, Google made the first step towards pushing website owners to go HTTPS, by announcing that from 26th October they would show HTTP sites as ‘Not Secure’. For a long time, Google has been giving ranking boosts to secure sites, but we’re seeing a lot more movement now – making it even more important for those who haven’t taken the leap yet, to make their move before they fall behind.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS is a term generally designed to serve people security towards their business and its websites. Generally it is known as Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure’ (HTTPS) and is a replacement of the earlier HTTP which is Hyperlink Transfer Protocol. It uses encryption of the user data including history, passwords, and so forth to ensure that data passed to your website is secure and un-hackable.

Is my website vulnerable if my site is not HTTPS?

In a word, no. But your users are. HTTPS doesn’t affect your website’s security in itself, what it does is secure the connection to your website. Currently on HTTP, if a user goes onto your website and inputs any information, from search items in a search bar to their personal details in a contact form, this information is now hackable, and therefore at risk.

With cybercrime reaching its highest levels ever at this time, it’s clear how important website security is and is going to be for businesses and all web users – and HTTPS is just the first stage in this shift.

Today around 92% businesses run websites on internet, and as you can imagine, a huge portion of those sites have access to a lot of information that is currently just ripe for the picking. And with Google now making non-secure websites visible to users, web users are now being made aware of this vulnerability so they can protect themselves and their data by avoiding non-secure sites. If that includes you, then you are likely losing visitors due to your site showing the big, bad bar:

not secure warning in chrome screenshot example not secure warning in chrome screenshot

This communication protocol is encrypted by TLS and SSL and shows secure authentication of accessed websites, and when ‘Secure’ should look nice and green and positive, like this:

secure sign in chrome screenshot

If we’ve not already outlined some pretty major reasons why you should dash off and change your HTTP site to HTTPS right now, we’ve outlined some more vital reasons below:

Love Your Users and They’ll Love You Back

The main reason to switch from HTTP to HTTPS is to improve the safety of users’ data, but the reward you get in return is invaluable: their trust. Users online have a tough time finding reputable sources and businesses and making your site secure shows that you care about their security and their privacy. This will also help users buy from you, and is pretty much a must for any e-commerce site.

On the contrary, if you fail to become secure, the big ‘Not Secure’ sign could equally drive customers away for fear of entering a vulnerable site, or having their computer or details hacked, even if this is not likely. For e-comm sites, we can guarantee 100% that you will be losing sales.

This is because HTTPS is now a widely known safety protocol generally used by all heavy business websites mostly to offer safe transactions to the customer or user. Google is continuously trying to spread knowledge and awareness, encouraging website owners to adopt HTTPS, and this is the first major action taken by the tech giant to push this change.

SEO Benefit

As we mentioned above, Google has been giving a ranking boost to HTTPS sites for a good few years now, but this favouritism has only been slight until now. We are now seeing some real shifts in the search results for those that are jumping (or have already jumped) on the bandwagon, and as well as the manual boost from Google, it can also help you improve your rankings daily as people use your site.

This is due to the secure sign shown that will encourage users to click through and then stay on your site, improving time-on-site and subsequently your rankings.

Faster browsing

Speed is one factor that affects both SEO and the quality of your website, and some have shown found that HTTP browsing is slower in comparison to HTTPS. This is because with HTTPS more requests are made at the same time, rather than with HTTP where one task must wait longer before beginning.

Troy Hunt demonstrated this in a useful and visual way with his screenshots of page load requests on HTTP and HTTPS:

Troy Hunt webpage load requests on HTTP

Troy Hunt webpage load requests on HTTPS

As you can see the second image shows more the requests are synchronised and therefore can finish (and load) faster. Page load speed is key to keeping users on your website and offering them a good service; with less than 2 seconds to capture your audience and load your page, if you don’t offer this, they’ll go to someone who can!

These are just a few hugely important reasons to switch to HTTPS, and the time to take action is now. With HTTPS being the future of internet web safety, it soon will become the new normal of what we expect from websites – do don’t get left in the dirt!

We can help you switch to HTTPS if your current web provider is not able to, or are happy to offer free advice on the process and how it works, so if you’re still stuck on HTTP, give us a call – our web experts will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

HTTPS in website address bar with secure padlock