The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for SSL (Secure Socket Layer), which is basically the technology that encrypts data between a website and a user to prevent hackers from intercepting sensitive information. But why is there a sudden stress in the importance of enabling HTTPS on your website?
SSL and https have always been important especially for websites that deal with sensitive customer data such as shopping cart websites that process payments or websites that have customer logins. But as of late Google, the search engine giant has been stressing on the importance of enabling https on all websites – even incorporating it as part of their Google Chrome browser update. So now if your website is not https enabled (especially if you have customer login features and such) then Google will display a big red message to users saying that this website is unsafe. This can have a major impact on your traffic since a message like this could deter visitors from using the website.
In addition the above, according to a technical writer at Google, having https on your website has several benefits, a few of which have been discussed below:
- Protects privacy and security of your users: Although it is commonly understood that only websites that handle sensitive information about their users, require https. But this is in-fact not true – every unprotected communication with a website can reveal information about the identity and behaviour of users. For instance users can reveal sensitive health information just by reading unprotected medical articles about a specific topic.
- Protects your websites integrity: Using https on your business website helps prevent hackers from intercepting the communication between your website and its visitors. Not just hackers but even legitimate companies that can be intrusive like your Internet Service Providers or even certain advertisers. Such hackers can trick users into giving up sensitive information or even install malicious content on their devices.
- The latest and future web technologies require it: Not only does https prevent the misuse of your website but is also an important component of latest powerful web technologies such as taking pictures or recording video, having offline app experiences and even building modern web apps. Even certain older features such as geolocation (identifying a user’s location) will require HTTPs to function with the latest updates.
- General perception of your website: Another very important aspect of user trust and improved traffic is how visitors look at your website and what they think. If a visitor sees HTTPs enabled and your website shows as secure they are more trusting to use it and share sensitive information. Whereas if there was a large message in read saying the website is unsecure and cannot be trusted, it would affect how they perceive it and hence their actions on the website.