Does your website URL have HTTP or HTTPS at the beginning?
When you open any URL, the first letters before the actual website address will be “HTTP://” or “HTTPS://”. These are phrases that refer to the protocol through which you interact with the web server.
What’s the difference? And does it matter?
HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP.
The first version of HTTP was proposed for the first time in 1989. HTTPS was introduced in 1994 as an encrypted (and thus more secure) version of HTTP.
This stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. It is a set of rules that determine the method by which information can be transferred online. Accessing a webpage requires your browser to send a request to the server on which the page is hosted. Successful transmission means that the webpage is accessible – otherwise, an HTTP error code will be displayed.
HTTP information is not encrypted – which makes it easily vulnerable to hackers and it can be intercepted by cybercriminals.
This is an abbreviation for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. This advanced, more secure protocol helps keep information between web clients and users secure. It uses an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate and TLS (Transfer Layer Security) Protocol to protect information via encryption and the prevention of tampering during data transfer. It also ensures that users communicate with the correct destination website.
The security offered by HTTPS is threefold:
- Encryption to prevent user activity tracking and theft of user information.
- Data integrity to prevent file corruption during transfer between web server and website.
- Authentication to help build user trust.
Why Switch Your Website to HTTPS?
First and foremost – SECURITY. This is essential for helping to protect both your assets and the integrity of your website, but also for the protection of your users. This is imperative, especially for websites that handle sensitive data like eCommerce sites, financial institutions, and other sites requiring a login to access credentials.
Site security is also a major SEO ranking indicator.
There are several other reasons besides security to switch to HTTPS for your website URL.
- HTTP can only handle one request at a time. As such, multiple requests are required to load a single web page, negatively impacting page loading speeds and compromising SERP rankings, especially for larger or more complex websites.
- HTTPS Referral Data is clearer, offering another SEO advantage and enabling you to better identify the source of your traffic, allowing better targeting for your SEO strategy. SEO advantages of switching to HTTPS include actively boosting website rankings, preserving referrer data, and building visitor trust.
- Build authority through a better user experience (UX) as search engines demonstrate that an HTTPS website is safe to visit. This encourages click-throughs and longer user interaction on a website.
- HTTPS is much faster than HTTP – further improving the user experience and ranking better on search engines.
To ensure the best outcome, you must inform Google that you have switched to HTTPS to prevent any SEO hiccups in the short term, as well as to navigate some technical complexities. Your professional SEO provider can help you avoid any migration issues.
How to Switch?
You need to get in touch with your website server host – from there, the process is simple and switching to HTTPS should be included in your hosting fee. This is the case for hosting companies such as VentraIP, which we at SEOcycle recommend and use for our own website.
Some hosting companies charge a fee for switching to HTTPS. When you sign up for web hosting, check the fine print on the terms and conditions – is an SSL Certificate free and included in the web hosting service fee?
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