You’re certainly familiar with the “security lock” that shows up in your browser’s address bar. If the lock is green it signifies that the information you get from the website and that you send to it (like a credit card number) is encrypted and safe from a hacker’s eyes. And the website address (URL) starts with “https” – “s” for “secure”. Https indicates that the transmission of the information is done with “SSL”, or Secure Socket Layer. Geek talk, but a fast way to designate what is being discussed.
In years past a website would usually only use SSL if they were taking credit card or other sensitive information like a username and password. That is still its most important use.
But in 2014 Google said that they would give a boost in search engine rankings to websites that use SSL. And that is exactly what they are doing. According to one report only 1% of all websites use SSL, but 40% of the websites on page 1 of a Google search result use https. SSL is not the only factor in getting to page 1, but it undoubtedly helps.
How do you convert our site to an https version? It does involve a few steps:
- Purchase a “secure certificate” from a certificate authority such as Let’s Encrypt or Thawte. You should speak with your web hosting company first as they may have special instructions or offer it themselves (such as GoDaddy).
- Install the certificate on your web server so your site then uses SSL.
- Configure your website so it always changes to the “https://www.yourdomain.com” version.
- Make sure all links within your website to other files there use “https” – otherwise the lock icon may show a warning like this:
Installation is somewhat technical and you will probably want to work with your web designer to get all of this done.
This is all becoming even more important because various browsers are starting to make it more obvious to the user that your website is not secure by using icons like this:
Even if it isn’t critical for your website to use SSL (e.g., no credit card purchases), it is a matter of user trust. A green lock helps create that.
The moral of the story is: the sooner you make the move to having a secure website the better life will be.
Here are a few other articles on this subject:
Contact us if you need help to move your website to https!