The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) has been in place since the early days of the internet. HTTP takes care of the communication between a web client (usually a browser) and a web server. It is the prefix to every URL you find on the web.
However, for a couple of years now, HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) has been running the show.
Why is HTTPS important? Why does your website really need it? And how you implement it?
- HTTPS makes websites more secure
HTTPS is an extension to HTTP. HTTP is completely fine when ordinarily browsing the web. It only becomes an issue when users are entering sensitive data into form fields or checkout pages on a website. If they do this on an HTTP webpage, that data is transmitted in clear text and can be read by anyone.
HTTPS uses a cryptographic protocol to encrypt data entered by users, making them much safer and harder for a hacker to decipher.
The standard cryptographic protocol that has been securing webpages is called SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer. However, nowadays SSL is not used that frequently anymore due to its age and weaknesses. Its successor TLS (Transport Layer Security) has taken over.
HTTPS is an absolute must for banks, insurance companies but also for webshops. When processing credit card information or connecting to services such as PayPal, it is of vital importance that connections are secure. Most payment providers even enforce the usage of HTTPS or you cannot implement their services.
- HTTPS makes websites faster
In theory, HTTPS is slower than its little brother HTTP because every connection needs to be encrypted, requiring additional computations and time.
To combat this issue, the HTTP/2 standard has been created. It is a revised version of the standard HTTP/1.1 protocol which incorporates HTTPS and connection multiplexing. As a result, it can retrieve content much faster in a secure way.
You can test the difference between HTTP and HTTPS yourself on http://www.httpvshttps.com.
- HTTPS is good for SEO
HTTPS helps you to rank higher in the search engines. In 2014, Google officially announced HTTPS is a ranking factor. A website with HTTPS will receive bonus points and get you closer to that desired number one spot.
- HTTPS creates credibility and trust with your users
Most browsers show a little green key lock when the connection is secure. Chrome goes one step further by explicitly showing the word “Secure” or “Not Secure” before every URL.
When dealing with confidential information or credit cards details, no doubt users will be reluctant to give you the desired information when your site is labeled “Not Secure”. This will have a significant impact on your conversion rates.
Now you are convinced of the benefits of HTTPS, the question is: how do you implement it?
To activate HTTPS on a website, you need a certificate. This used to cost money and in a lot of cases required a dedicated IP-address. This has changed due to a service called Let’s Encrypt.
To bolster its ambition to create a more secure and privacy-respecting web, Let’s Encrypt “gives people the digital certificates they need in order to enable HTTPS (SSL/TLS) for websites, for free”. The project is backed and sponsored by companies like Cisco, Facebook, Shopify, Akamai and many other internet behemoths.
At Hyperlane, we embrace this mission. We want to make it as easy as possible for creative agencies to offer safe and secure websites to their clients. Hyperlane has made HTTPS implementation extremely easy. After launching your website on one of our blazing fast production environments, enforcing HTTPS is as easy as a simple toggle!
HTTPS is good for site speed, security and the effectiveness of your website. Implementing HTTPS is a best practice your creative agency should embrace, for the benefit of your clients and their online business.
Need more information on this topic? Just drop us line. We’re happy to hear from you!