It's time to switch to HTTPS

Posted by Paul on February 19, 2016

What is HTTPS and SSL?

Very simply, if you want your site to be more secure and your customers to see the lovely green padlock in their browser, then you'll need an SSL Certificate which will allow you to use HTTP Secure or HTTPS.

Does my site need it?



1. Security

Whenever you access a website, there isn't a direct link between your computer and the web server. If you're not using HTTPS then any information you exchange (login details/passwords/forms/etc.) is sent unencrypted in plain text that could potentially be read.

2. SEO (Google Ranking)

Google will now rank websites higher that have SSL certificates.

3. Wifi Securify and Popups

HTTPS is especially important when people are browsing from insecure connections such as a public wifi hotspot. Even if the owner of the wifi isn't trying to steal your passwords, they may insert ads in to web pages that never had them before. If your website is using HTTPS it will be encrypted so that this can't happen.

4. Browsers will Mark Your Site as Insecure

At some point soon, Chrome and Firefox will start marking all sites without SSL Certificates as insecure. With trust being fundamental to conversion rates in ecommerce, this will make SSL essential.

5. HTTP2 will Require It

HTTP2 has already been released, is faster and has more features, but to use it you will need SSL.

6. Service Workers do Require It

There are some new features in the latest versions of JavaScript called "Service Workers". While we don't have time to go in to what they do here, we can be pretty sure software developers will start to use them in various projects, widgets and extensions which will then not work on your site if you don't have SSL.

7. You won't know where some of your traffic is coming from

A lot of important decisions can be made by looking at your web traffic and where it comes from. However, tracking tools cannot detect traffic from sites that run on HTTPS if you still run on HTTP. As more and more sites switch to HTTPS, you will start to get less and less data about where your visitors have come from.

Are there any reasons not to switch to SSL?

  1. There's a small yearly cost involved to buy the certificate and update a website to use it.
  2. There is a small performance hit to encrypt the connection which may slow a site down very slightly. In practise this isn't really noticeable.

So essentially, it's almost definitely the right time to install an SSL Certificate and start using HTTPS!

What do you think? Do you use SSL already? Do you think it's a good idea but don't know where to start? Let us know in the comments!

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