What is SSL?
SSL stand for Secure Sockets Layer and is a protocol used to encrypt data exchanged between your browser and a web server. The protocol uses digital “keys” known only to your browser and the web server. If a crook intercepts your data exchange – like in a public wifi setting, they will not be able to read the data as you need to know the key in order to decode the encrypted data.
Most of us may be familiar with this when we buy something online. At a minimum most sites use SSL to protect pages that contain sensitive information like credit card numbers and other personal data. We may see that the website address is https://www.example.com instead of http://www.example.com. The “s” in https indicates that the connection is secures using SSL.
Reason #1: Security
In order to view a page on a website, your browser sends a request to a web server that includes the page address you want to see and a bunch of other stuff. That other stuff may include information about your browser settings but can also include any data you enter in a ecommerce checkout form for example. These requests, and responses from the server are readable as plain English without encryption. So anyone who views the request can read what you have sent or what you receive. When the data is encrypted, anyone who views the exchange sees nothing but jumbled data, unable to read or understand the information.
Reason#2: Search Engine Rankings
Google has said that the use of SSL on a website is a ranking factor. They want all websites to use SSL. We have seen in several cases, including this website, where the positive ranking impact can be as much as 4 or 5 ranking positions. So if SEO is a concern for your website, this is a no brainer.
Securing your website with SSL adds a level of professionalism to your brand. It says that you care about your visitors security and that you and your website are up to date with technology. This in turn can lead to greater trust and confidence in your business.
How Do I Convert From HTTP to HTTPS?
Depending on the size of your website and how it was designed, making the leap can be fairly easy. Here’s what you need to do:
- Buy an SSL certificate. Your web hosting company can sell you one and they cost around $50 a year.
- Install the SSL Certificate. For simple sites on shared hosting, this is usually done by the hosting company.
- Update any links in the site that explicitly say “http” to “https”.
- Add a 301 redirect to send all traffic requesting unsecured http pages to the secured https version. This can be tricky, you’ll want some help with this if you’re not sure.
- Update any tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console so they start tracking the secured pages.
Converting from HTTP to HTTPS is not hard and is worth it for the SEO boost alone. Feel free to get in touch with us if you would like Techeffex to help.