Depending on which browser you use, you may have noticed an increase in site security popups over the last year or two. These popups appear when a site uses an HTTP address rather than an HTTPS one, and they warn users that a site might have safety concerns. Many users click away from a website when this happens, which means you need to address this issue if you still have an HTTP-powered site.
What is HTTP?
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, and it refers to the transmission and format of information on the web. It’s a stateless protocol, which means it executes commands alone rather than using data from previous commands.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, and, as with HTTP, it describes the way data is formatted and transmitted on the internet. The main difference is that an HTTPS address focuses more on security than an HTTP address does.
Why Does HTTPS Matter?
Each day, more than 20 million cyber attacks occur. It’s not impossible to hack an HTTPS site, but it’s easier to hack an HTTP site. That’s because HTTPS uses a combination of public and private encryption methods when data is transmitted across the web. Hackers can still crack this encrypted data, but it requires more effort than the nonsecure information submitted via HTTP sites.
HTTPS-transmitted data relies on Transport Layer Security protocol, which utilizes three layers of protection: encryption, data integrity, and authentication. Each layer of protection works together to keep cybercriminals from destroying your website or harassing its visitors.
Website visitors appreciate cybersecurity, but so does Google. Google generally ranks sites with HTTPS transmission higher than sites without it, which explains why the number of sites with SSL certificates has nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018.
How Do I Switch to HTTPS?
Start by purchasing an SSL certificate from a trusted company. This certificate lets Google and your website visitors know that you are really who you say you are.
It’s not enough to just acquire the certificate, though; you have to install it on your site. This can be tricky if you don’t do much website maintenance, so ask our WordPress experts for help if needed.
After installing your certificate, make sure all of your current pages redirect to the new HTTPS format. Consider implementing 301 redirects from your old HTTP pages to the new HTTPS ones so that your website visitors don’t have to update their bookmarks for your site.
Crawl your website so you can make sure you didn’t miss anything. If you did, go back and fix it ASAP so Google doesn’t penalize your site. Keep an eye out for transfer-related issues over the next few weeks, and make sure all of your scripts are HTTPS compatible.
Our WordPress Experts Can Help
Not sure you want to do this on your own? Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS requires an extensive time commitment if you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of WordPress maintenance. Click on the Ask button on the bottom right or give us a call at (855) 977-0391 if you need help with the migration process. We’ll help secure your site so you can keep your digital data safe and remain in Google’s good graces.