HTTPS Security: Do You Need It?

HTTPS Security: Do You Need It?

Dennis Snider

263 Posts




With cyber-attacks on businesses becoming ever more common, many people are starting to ask whether they need their website to be made secure. HTTPS security essentially means that any data sent to or from a secure website is encrypted. There are two ways to tell whether a website is secure: firstly, its URL will begin https rather than http, and you will see a padlock symbol to the left of the URL in your browser.
In the past, secure websites were only for people undertaking e-commerce, to make sure that credit card details, etc were protected. However, it is now generally recommended that even websites that simply supply information should use HTTPS. There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, not having a secure website could hamper your ability to get new leads and customer information: from October 2017, Google Chrome began flashing up “nonsecure” warnings if a user attempted to fill out a form or input data to a non-HTTPS website, and from July 2018 all websites that were not HTTPS were flagged as nonsecure, driving visitors away even when no security issue existed.

Secondly, many people believe that HTTPS helps websites to appear higher up in Google search rankings. It’s difficult to know how true this is, given that Google are so secretive about their criteria, but it does seem that the upper echelons of Google are dominated by HTTPS sites; Google has admitted that it can be a factor in deciding between two sites providing the same type of information.

Thirdly, a pressing reason for having HTTPS is that most of your competitors will probably have it. Even if you don’t think there’s a security issue, if visitors are going to wonder why your site doesn’t have that little padlock on when others do, that could be enough to make them look elsewhere.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to make your site HTTPS compliant: you have to buy an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate (around $10) and have a web designer install it on your server and set up your website ($200-$300). Once your website is secure, Google will reindex it for you.

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