If you use Google Chrome or Firefox web browser, you probably noticed that they are both display really scary looking warnings every time you reach a website that is not secure. Secure certificates, also known as SSL, were once only required for e-commerce websites or websites that took credit cards or required personal information. But with the advances in technology – and of course increases in hacking and cyber exploits, today, most sites should be secure.
We concluded this independently rather than jumping on the “secure your website” bandwagon taking place last year. We’re now convinced and here’s why you should make your website HTTPS NOW:
- Enhanced Security — Obviously, HTTPS/SSL protects your site’s data and your website visitors. It encrypts data transferred over the web, like logins, form submissions, and credit card transactions.
- Higher SEO Rankings — Google gives a search ranking boost to secure sites. You’ll rank better with an HTTPS website. No one is sure how much impact there is but Google has mentioned it is a ranking factor – and even if it is only a small factor, it may just be enough to give you an edge over a competitor.
- Cyber Security Fears – Both Chrome and Firefox now warn visitors before they go to a “NOT SECURE” website. Clearly this can stop potential customers in their tracks before they even go to your website!
- Builds Trust – By showing your website is HTTPS/SSL secure and encrypted, you’re sending a signal to all your site visitors that you put a high priority on protecting their privacy and they can feel confident when leaving comments or filling out any forms on your site.
- HTTPS is Now Affordable — In the past, secure certificates could get expensive, but the rapidly transforming web landscape has made switching to HTTPS/SSL practical, affordable and fast. (See below for more on this.)
So What Exactly is HTTP and HTTPS?
This is a very technical thing we’ll try to make it understandable to the layman:
HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) – this is just the basic reference to how information is shared on the internet in its original form, basically as plain text. This allows anyone to view that information who gains access.
HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) – this is the same as HTTP but the difference is that the information gets “scrambled” into character strings via an SSL certificate. Only the receiving and sending computers can then see that information. Others may be able to access it – but they will never be able to “read” it because it’s encrypted.
Moving to HTTPS/SSL is Fast and Easy!
In the past, only some sites were expected to be secure. Now just about every site needs to be HTTPS. The good news is that the work is quick and easy and we can help you!
Going from HTTP to HTTPS is a manual process and typically takes 1-3 hours of work for most sites. More time may be needed for some complex sites.
There are basically two ways to obtain your SSL certificate:
Self-signed SSL certificate which will usually require you to have a dedicated IP (these do not typically work with shared hosting since they cannot use your domain name as verification). There is also an annual fee that goes with these SSL certificates – you should review and research the best option for your budget.
If you want to get a self-signed SSL you should reach out to your hosting company to determine what your options are! Every host is a bit different in their requirements.
The other option is which you may prefer is a way you can get your SSL certificate for free. Depending on the web host you use, your security certificate may be offered for free through Let’s Encrypt, or you can obtain a certificate through other affordable options. Many hosts have Let’s Encrypt already integrated, but you can also install it manually.
NEED HELP? We Can Set Up Your Secure Site for You!
Our webmasters have made this change for many site owners and would happy to work on your project next. Contact us today and we’ll let you know what exactly is involved to make your site secure. For most websites the total fee is less than $250.