HTTPS is a more secure connection than HTTP. What happens when you connect your website using HTTP? Basically, it connects to the IP address found and assumes it is the correct one. If the network is compromised, it cannot verify whether it is legitimate or not. Since the site is not a secure one, it can send out whatever sensitive data like credit card details or passwords in plain text and not encrypted as it should be. The data can be hacked through this type of connection.
The “S” you see in an HTTPS address means “Secure”. This means that data is sent across the network is scrambled or encrypted. When it reaches the destination, this gets unscrambled or de-crypted. Anybody who comes across data sent will see “gibberish” and will not get a clear info.
How to find out if you are on HTTPS
HTTPS indicates that an SSL certificate has been acquired. The SSL certificate is required for e-commerce sites as well as other sites that gather sensitive information from the user. Many websites have now switched to HTTPS.
To find out if your website is secured or not, you will find this on the first part of your website URL or address on the browser.
What happens if you are not on HTTPS?
There are certain disadvantages if you are not on HTTPS:
- Low traffic- This is due to low Google rank which results in not being on top pages of search engine results/
- Low ranking – Google has preference for secured websites thus if you do not have SSL certification, most likely you will be losing ranking.
- Low conversion rates – Since your site is not a secure one, users will have warnings about it. Users would most likely not visit your site or exit right away when this happens. Their data maybe compromised if they continue to use your website.
Changing to HTTPS
You can buy an SSL certificate from a reputable domain provider. It costs about $50-$100 annually. There are more expensive options that will give your website added security and provide a “green” secure bar on the browser. Check out PayPal and notice some features on the web address.
- Use “Let’s Encrypt”
Another option is to use Let’s Encrypt (https://letsencrypt.org) and this is FREE. The solution provides security encryption service to anyone on the web. You can contact your hosting provider, and this can be activated on your website.
Whether you buy an SSL certificate or get the free solution, you might have a dip in your Google rankings and traffic. The reason is that you are changing the website address and a re-indexing of the site would be needed. This is temporary and eventually will be stabilized in 2 weeks to a month.
What to do about the negative effects of the change
If you are experiencing some negative effects to the change then you can do the following:
- Be sure to update all links to HTTPS. You can use Backup Buddy to “find and replace” and update the entire website.
- Use the correct URL if you are using WordPress.
- Use 301 redirect in the HT access file. If you are unsure how to do this, contact your hosting provider and they can assist you on this.
- Clear the cache then check the website if everything has been updated.
- Add the URL to Google Search Console. Submit the website again with the new HTTPS address.
- Refresh the sitemap and re-submit to Google.
- Be sure to update Google Analytics with the new address.
- Continue publishing content that contains the new address. You can also update your website address on social media. This will help the search engine re-index your site.
Doing the above measures helps in whatever ranking you lost during the transition to an HTTPS. Your website now would be in a better position once HTTPS is put in place.
If you want to switch your website to HTTPS, you can count on BurkiBPO to assist this transfer. Call or fill up the BurkiBPO Contact Form for any assistance you may need.