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What Is HTTPS Protocol and Why Is It Important for You?

Sergey Labzov / 05.25.2017145

Do you want your website to have high rankings on the search engine results page (SERP)? I bet you do. How about a nice green badge next to your website name in the browser signifying that it’s secure and trustworthy? Visitors sure like that a lot!

Starting 2017, all non-HTTPS websites (that is, websites that use the old HTTP protocol) are to be marked by the browser as unsafe and definitely not trustworthy. Now, who would want something like that to happen to their website?

HTTP vs. HTTPS. What’s the difference?

Before we proceed, let me explain what an HTTP protocol is.

All the actions we make on the Internet can be boiled down to a simple exchange of data. We share photos, watch YouTube videos, read news etc. Whenever we click on an item, our computer sends a request to the relevant server and awaits its response.

Having processed the request, the browser displays the website with a usual HTTP badge. This is what they a standard data transfer protocol, through which data is transferred from the server that hosts the website to the user.

The protocol sets up the way information is transferred and serves as a medium during the transfer process helping the browser to load and display the information on your computer (or smartphone).

This has pretty much been the case up until 2017 – HTTP was dominant. However, it had one major vulnerable spot – it DID NOT PROTECT the data during the transfer process.

Now, for many users, this wouldn’t be such a big deal because they have nothing to protect other than their selfies. But not for banks that store financial data. Not for major companies and social networks that store personal data. And, certainly, not for people, whose data is stored on those websites.

So, the technology moved on and there you have HTTPS, which allows websites to transfer data via secure, encrypted methods.

What Is HTTPS?

Internet giants like Google and Microsoft have become somewhat obsessed with data protection and security simply because it makes using the Internet not safe. If people were afraid that someone could steal their financial data, they wouldn’t make any purchases on the Internet.

That’s definitely no way to go. So, they’ve come up with HTTPS.

HTTPS (Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure) is a modern protocol, which guarantees secure and confidential data exchange between the resources minimizing the hacking risks.

The main part of HTTPS is cryptographic protocol called SSL/TLS. It effectively encrypts the transferred data and allows for a safe exchange.

How Does HTTPS work?

This protocol features 3 levels of data protection.

  • Encryption

We’ve already mentioned that HTTPS encrypts the data. Thanks to that, Internet scammers cannot see what is being transferred. Which, in turn, means they’re not able to track down your Internet activity and get access to your personal data.

  • Data integrity

Well, nothing (or no one) can be 100% secure. But, at least you can keep track of any suspicious activity (or any activity for that matter). This is what HTTPS does – it records all the changes or alterations of the data transferred no matter what the reason for that may be.

  • Authentication

This ensures that you will ultimately get to the website you originally clicked on without being redirected to some scam resource.

Who Can Benefit from Switching to HTTPS?

 Due to its security features, HTTPS is a must for the following types of businesses:

  1. E-shops
  2. Major websites storing personal user data
  3. Social networks and websites with huge traffic

Not only the HTTPS badge makes visitors trust your website more, it also may positively affect your SERP rankings. Now, who wouldn’t want that?

How to Switch to HTTPS

Now you see what HTTPS is all about. It’s really worth switching to.

Before you start switching to HTTPS, you need to do some preliminary work:

1. Change all your internal links from “http://...” to simply “//…”

2. Run a check on your website media content to see which protocol it uses
a. Install the relevant SSL certificate
SSL certificates come in various types depending on the level of security and verification. After the SSL certificate is installed on your server, make sure you check if your website is available through HTTPS protocol now.

3. Set up your website
a. Set up the “Host” directory in robots.txt
b. Set up 301 redirect from http to https
c. Scan for bugs and errors

After that, you should make sure that the search engine recognizes your new, HTTPS protocol. To do so, you need to add the https version of your website into the webmasters panel.

Then, all you have to do is wait until the re-indexing is finished.

Conclusion

In a relatively short period of time, HTTPS has become a standard rather than an option in the world of the Internet technology. Without HTTPS, your chances to become a popular, well-respected and trusted resource are next to nothing.

Switching to HTTPS may prove a painful procedure, especially for those who are not too IT-savvy or simply don’t want to spend much time getting it all together.

A way out? Delegate this delicate issues to a professional web studio that will make the HTTP-to-HTTPS switching process a breeze.

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