Why it’s Time to Move your Website to HTTPS
OK so, first of all what is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.
In other words HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, which is the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The Secure element of HTTPS means that all communications between you (i.e. your browser) and the website are encrypted.
Encryption – Makes your site secure
This is the most obvious benefit of shifting to HTTPS. When you are enforcing HTTPS on your site, any data passing between the client and the server is automatically encrypted. For sites that require customers to log in and accept payments through credit or debit cards this is essential – also if you are collecting information on web forms etc. all of that data is encrypted.
See below the https:// attached to our URL;
Also see how this appears in the Google search bar – note the padlock symbol and the word Secure.
There are fundamentally three levels of https certification; DV, OV and EV
DV stands for Domain Validation and basically means that your domain name matches your website.
OV means Organisation Validation and here your name will appear on the certificate.
EV is the highest level and stands for Extended Validation. In this instance your Company name will appear after the padlock symbol in the url bar.
See the example below;
Why is https important now?
Very soon those browsing the web using Chrome could start to see a “Not Secure” warning message in the address bar of the website they wish to access, if that website is not using the HTTPS protocols. Imagine the effect this might have on any users who wish to visit or use your website!
Furthermore there is another reason why not switching from HTTP to HTTPS is detrimental to your website, and that is to do with your Google ranking positions – i.e. your websites search visibility.
As long ago as 2014 Google stated that it was starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal which indicated Google’s increased focus on secure website interactions and also reflecting concerns of website users for a safe online experience.
So what this means is that Google knows whether your site is a secure HTTPS site or one which is using the old non-secure HTTP protocol. Google will actively promote HTTPS sites over non-HTTPS sites. Sites running on the HTTP protocol will lose out in the fight for higher ranking positions.
How can you make your site HTTPS
If you want to – you can take the DIY route to upgrading your site to HTTPS. There are a number of key steps you will need to go through:
Purchase an SSL certificate
SSL is the protocol that HTTPS uses and is something that you need to install. The SSL certificate would have your company name, domain name, address, country, state and your city. Several details including the expiry date of the certificate would also be mentioned here.
Once you have bought your SSL certificate you will need to get it installed.
Create your site’s URL map and redirect
Google views the HTTP and HTTPS versions of your website as two different sites. This means that you will need to set up redirect instructions so that the search engines index your “new” site not the old one.
Update all your internal links, images and any other links
You will need to do this because there are likely to be several internal links throughout your site which will redirect to your old HTTP pages. You will have to find each of the links and then correct it to point to the new HTTPS based URL. You will also need to correct links to other resources like stylesheets, images and scripts.
Also, if you use a content delivery network (CDN), you need to make sure that the CDN supports HTTPS too. These days most CDNs do support HTTPS, but not all of them. So, make sure that you check that too.
Re-add your site to Google Search Console
Once the changes above have been made you want Google to crawl (index) your new site as soon as possible. If Google does not do this, your traffic will be negatively affected.
At the same time you can submit your new sitemap under your new listing and above that, re-submit the old sitemap. Google will then pick up on the redirects you have set up and index your site in line with those.
Alternatively you can simply ask Pink Fish to convert your site to https for you. For a fee of £75* we will do it all for you and you don’t need to worry about anything else.
So if your website is not yet https you should take action now. Give us a call (01793 886294) or ping us an email and we would be delighted to assist you.
* £75 is for the DV Level Certification (This is what we have at Pink Fish). EV level certification would be more expensive. Contact us and we can advise you of the costs vs. the benefits.