HTTPS: Why It Is Important

Whether your websites handle sensitive communications or not, you should always protect them with HTTPS. Apart from securing your website and your users’ personal information, HTTPS is a necessary component for many new browser features, such as progressive web apps.

Prior to recently, most website owners did not have to worry about securing their pages unless their sites conducted eCommerce transactions or collected sensitive information such as medical or financial data. Now, that’s all changing.

In addition to being important for organizations that want to rank well in search, HTTPS will also become the standard for visitors, as Google now strongly recommends it for websites.

It’s no longer just a concern for certain types of websites – website security is a best practice for all businesses and organizations that want to improve search engine performance,  establish credibility with visitors, and maintain a professional web presence.

No matter how innocuous your websites are, you should always protect them with HTTPS. HTTPS is not only important for securing your websites and users’ personal information but it’s also needed for a lot of new browser features, including progressive web applications.

What Is HTTPS?

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is used for secure communication over a computer network and is widely used on the Internet. In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security or, formerly, Secure Sockets Layer.

3 Reasons Why Your Website Needs HTTPS

1. Maintain lead generation

A “not secure” warning on Google Chrome began appearing in October 2017 when users filled out a simple contact form or entered information in a search field on a non-HTTPS website. A “not secure” message was displayed by Google Chrome on all websites not using HTTPS protocol in July 2018 – regardless of whether users were filling out a form. In short, if your website generates offers and sales leads, it needs to be secured by HTTPS so its users won’t get freaked out and abandon it.

2. Improve your search engine rankings 

It was announced by Google in August 2014 that HTTPS plays a role in their search ranking algorithm. Although research suggests HTTPS is becoming a stronger ranking factor, it’s still unclear just how much a role HTTPS plays in search engine rankings. Almost all of the results on page 1 of every Google search begin with an HTTPS URL, and Google has also indicated that an HTTPS site can serve as a tiebreaker between similar sites.

3. Everybody’s doing it

An HTTPS site is important for many reasons, but perception is the most important. The news is replete with hacking and data breaches, and people are concerned about online security and privacy. The fact that your website is HTTPS and visitors can see the little padlock in their browser provides comfort for visitors, even if it isn’t collecting sensitive information. This helps visitors feel confident and trust you. In the age of HTTPS, even non-techies are starting to feel uneasy when they don’t see that padlock.

HTTPS is the future of the web

Powerful new web platform features, such as the ability to take photos and record audio with getUserMedia(), to enable offline app experiences with service workers, or to build progressive web apps, require explicit permission from the user. The Geolocation API, for example, is another older API that is being updated to need a permit to run. HTTPS is a key component of these permission workflows for both the updated APIs and the new features.