What is HTTPS and Why You Need it Now

Website security can make or break your business. Protecting your customers’ personal data is crucial. Yet, we’re still amazed by the number of websites that aren’t passing data securely – but could be, by simply implementing HTTPS.

Prominent data breaches continue to be widely reported in the media. Cyberattacks are more common and they’re costly to businesses and their customers. Globally, the average cost to a company of a data breach is $3.86 million, according to Norton.

Secure connections aren’t just for eCommerce. You still need data encryption to protect you and your customers, including their names, passwords, email addresses, and credit card numbers. Here’s what you need to know.

What is HTTPS?

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS, is a protocol for secure communication over the Internet. It ensures that all communications between your browser and the server are encrypted. You should see a little padlock icon in your browser’s address bar. The colour of the padlock may change depending on which browser you use and which type of certificate is in place.

Why does HTTPS matter?

1. Data security and protection

All data sent from a regular HTTP connection are in ‘plain text’ and not encrypted meaning that it could be intercepted, stolen or modified. When you enforce HTTPS on a website, you secure data that passes between the browser and the site’s server.

2. Increased sales conversion

Customers are more likely to trust and complete purchases from sites that use HTTPS. Information like credit card numbers or passwords are encrypted and cannot be intercepted. HTTPS isn’t only important for websites with online stores. You’ll also protect data submitted in forms: contact forms, contest entry forms and even CMS logins.

Secure connections aren’t just for eCommerce.

3. Better SEO

Google checks for HTTPS to contribute towards your ranking in search results. Higher ranking in Google’s search results will help customers find you when and where they need you the most.

4. Prevent warnings and blocked content

Pages that collect data without HTTPS security in place will be labelled by all modern web browsers as non-secure. The security indicator varies from browser to browser, and is usually accompanied by a written description that indicates that the connection is not secure.

Chrome labels all HTTP pages as “not secure”.

When using Firefox, the connection to the website will be stopped if the certificate cannot be validated. Visitors will be shown a “Warning: Potential Security Risk Ahead” error page instead – a clear deterrent for visitors to your site.

To take the mystery out of HTTPS, here are 5 simple tips to guide you.

Tips to get HTTPS on your website

  1. Obtain an SSL certificate and have it installed it on your web server. This is not a DIY project. Certificates are available from a number of trusted providers.
  2. Thoroughly test that everything is working through HTTPS.
  3. Ensure there is a redirect in place to automatically send non-secure HTTP requests to secure HTTPS.
  4. Certificates have expiry dates, so you’ll need to renew them periodically, generally every 3 months to one year.
  5. The costs will vary, depending on your requirements and the type of certificate you purchase. Most can be purchased very inexpensively.

Having a secure site is important when establishing trust with potential customers, and protects you and them from the consequences of a data breach. When customers trust that their personal information is secure with your brand, you’ll reap the benefits through increased sales conversions.

Want to know more about how you can improve your website’s performance? Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation.