Ever wondered why some websites have a green padlock and start with “httpS” whilst others with “http” show up as “not secure”?
What exactly is https?
Https is the new standard for websites across the internet: “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure” – the emphasis being on S for Secure. But how is it secure?
When https is used, data transfer of information such as credit card details, email and phone numbers etc., is encrypted and thus kept secure. During the encryption the data is converted from a readable form into an (unreadable) scrambled version by encoding it with an encryption key and can no longer be read by prying eyes.
If you are using your website for business, you have a legal responsibility to secure the data.
Do I really Need to change to Https?
A common misconception appears to be that an “ordinary” website that does not take payments does not need https. Whilst it is true that Https is a great way of securing sensitive data, there are other benefits too – and of course downsides to sticking to the insecure http system:
If you want to stand any chance of a decent ranking on Google & Co. you will need to make the change as your non-https will not only rank worse but also be marked as insecure which could be mighty off-putting for potential visitors and customers of your site.
How do I change my site to https?
The first thing you need is to get a SSL Certificate from your hosting provider or domain registrar – there are a two main types to choose from:
You could buy a dedicated SSL certificate which not only provides encryption, but also comes with a warranty and protection in the event of any losses occurring from malicious activity.
Or you could use ‘Let’s Encrypt’ – offered as a free alternative by many hosting providers as a basic SSL certificate to encrypt data securely – but without the warranty and protection.
Once you have your certificate, you need to change your website over to https which can be a daunting task as all webpages, links and pictures need to change to the new httpS location. If you are using WordPress, there are of course, as always, a few nifty plugins that can make the job a lot easier for you. Once you have switched over, just make sure that all links work as expected.
Get in touch if you want any advice, or prefer for us to get you all set up – an hour well worth investing, saving your reputation and a lot of aggravation in the long run!
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