Tuesday, July 7, 2015
HTTPS and why your website should have it
In light of the controversy regarding the government’s encroachment on the privacy of Internet users, enhancing the security of your website has become more of a necessity than an option. Encrypting your website traffic by using HTTPS is a great start and can be advantageous for both your site and its users.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS is the secure version of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the protocol used for the transfer of data between your browser and the website you are trying to access. In fact, the “S” in the abbreviation stands for “secure.” Because of its added safety features, HTTPS is used for online exchanges and transactions that demand heightened confidentiality, such as Internet banking.
HTTPS works by encrypting communication between your browser and the website’s server. The system uses a secured socket layer (SSL) to encrypt any information sent from and to the site, as well as the corresponding functionality to decrypt the enciphered communication. Encrypting the message protects it from hackers who may want to take your information without your consent.
Why is HTTPS not mainstream?
Despite its potential benefits, using HTTPS never became standard among website owners. Owing to the extra steps taken to secure your communication, implementing HTTPS used to add around three or more seconds to the website’s loading time, greatly dampening the quality of user experience.
There was also a time when Google couldn’t index websites that used HTTPS. Because of this, many website owners opted to use HTTP instead for a place in the rankings despite the security risks it posed.
Why use HTTPS now?
There have been a lot of changes in the Internet over the last couple of years and some of them had things looking up for HTTPS. With these changes, it has become possible to encrypt information without the usual cons and reap the benefits from using the system.
1. HTTPS now adds just a fraction of second to your site’s loading speed. This is a relatively huge markdown that could mean a lot when your audience is as fascinated with speedy deliveries as today’s users.
2. Google actually recommends encryption and doing so might improve your rankings. Using HTTPS improves customer experience after all. Just do not expect to rise to rank 1 immediately as HTTPS is just one of about 200 factors Google looks at for its rankings.
3. It is better for your paying customers. Money-related information is very sensitive and is a popular target for hackers. Encrypting data will ensure that your customers’ transactions with proceed smoothly and without any risk.
4. It prevents information theft. There may be features in your site that are accessible only after users left their personal information with you. As the website owner, it is your responsibility to keep these details secure. Encryption will prevent hackers from accessing your customers’ personal details.
5. It makes you appear more trustworthy. Once customers see that your website is secure, they will be more willing to interact with you. They will also be more likely to purchase your products or your services.
To be fair, HTTPS is not perfect system. It has its own share of weaknesses. As a matter of fact, some companies are considering even more secure channels for monetary transactions. Despite this, HTTPS remains an important and very doable security boost for your website.
Taking security a step further, consider EV – Extended Validation SSL certificates, to provide the next layer of validation and check processes protecting the integrity of the SSL certificates. EV certificates display a green URL bar in the browser, making a very visual representation to the user that they have entered into a secure environment. Implement it now and reap the benefits.