Published - 28th September 2016
You may have noticed that when you browse to certain websites they have a green padlock in the address bar and next to this it says ‘https://’ instead of the usual ‘http://’. This indicates that their site is using the HTTPS protocol.
The ‘s’ in HTTPS stands for secure and it means that any data being passed between the user and the website is encrypted and cannot be read by a third party. In the past this was only deemed necessary for e-commerce stores or websites storing passwords, but it’s now becoming a best practice for all sites to adopt HTTPS due to the additional security it provides.
Starting in January 2017, Google’s Chrome browser will mark any page which collects passwords or credit cards as insecure unless it is using HTTPS. This is part of a long-term plan to mark all non-HTTPS sites as non-secure.
For visitors to your website this means that unless you are serving content over HTTPS they will see a red ‘not secure’ warning in the address bar. This could harm your brand as your users may view the site as untrustworthy. Other browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Edge will likely implement a similar warning when viewing non-secure sites.
Additionally, there are potential SEO benefits from having a HTTPS site with Google explicitly stating that they have begun displaying these sites higher up in Search Engine Rankings.
Finally, the additional security provided by HTTPS helps prevent Man-in-the-Middle attacks as it makes it more difficult for a third party to intercept data between your website and its users.
Getting your site up and running with HTTPS involves a few steps. First you will need to purchase and install an SSL certificate, which you can usually get from your web host. Secondly there will be some work to be done on your website to ensure it complies to the new protocol along with rigorous testing by a web team to ensure everything works as expected.
If you need some help and advice on transferring your site over to HTTPS then our digital team are happy to assist you with the move.