Why You Need to Switch to HTTPS - Newslibre

Why You Need to Switch to HTTPS Today

Originally, HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) was the first protocol developed for safe browsing through different web pages on the internet. But with more advancements taking shape in the information age, HTTP became a browsing vulnerability.

HTTP is a protocol that allows communication between different systems. Most commonly, it is used for transferring data from a web server to a browser to view web pages. Under this protocol, users were always advised to be very vigilant with vital and sensitive information like Credit Card numbers because at times attackers were able to hack and gain access to data. 

Due to leakages in HTTP, several sites started adopting HTTPS with the initial ones being e-commerce sites mainly because they needed users to input sensitive information.

The S in HTTPS stands for secure. You must be asking yourself what makes HTTPS more secure than HTTP? Well, it has an extra layer of security provided by the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.

The SSL certificate encrypts data the user sends to a website whereby even if a malicious user intercepts this communication, he will only get coded information that they will not be able to derive anything from.

Switching from HTTP to HTTPS is the right thing to do now

Today, TLS (Transport Layer Security) is used to achieve SSL protection/encryption since the pioneering SSL was last updated in 1996. It was later developed to achieve SSL goals and it is an up to date protocol. It provides data security, integrity, and authentication to users.

HTTP vs HTTPS
Image credit: Cloudflare

Many non-e-commerce websites were not prioritizing the need to transfer from HTTP to HTTPS up to 2014 when Google announced a recommendation that all websites needed to switch to HTTPS.

Google further announced that HTTPS websites would receive a bump in SEO ranking and in addition they make Google Analytics more effective. It also enables websites to use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), which allows faster loading of web pages leading to a much better browsing experience by mobile users on smartphones.

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Switching to HTTPS is not a hard procedure and below is how it can be done:

Why You Need to Switch to HTTPS - Newslibre

  1. You can purchase a preferable SSL certificate to use on your website from a number of online vendors like Cloudflare, Comodo, or get one free from Lets Encrypt.
  2. Install and configure your SSL certificate onto your website’s hosting account. You can either do it yourself or ask your web host for support.
  3. Enable HSTS which will tell your browser to always use HTTPS.

However, apart from the above steps, you should also consider undertaking the following procedures to ensure that your website fully upgrades to HTTPS. Remember to back-up your website just in case something might go wrong.

  • Update references to images and scripts, robots.txt file so that it includes an updated sitemap, code libraries including JavaScript, TypeScript, and all third party plugins in the websites.
  • Change all external links to the website to HTTPS.
  • Update your CDN [Content Delivery Network] SSL settings.
  • Update any links used in the marketing automation links.
  • Go through all your landing pages and paid search links and update them to HTTPS.
  • Update any broken redirects or any redirect chains.
  • Implement 301 redirects through your websites on a page by page basis.
  • Update old redirects still in place.
  • Enable HSTS which will tell your browser to always use HTTPS.
  • Enable OCSP scraping. It allows a server to identify whether a security certificate was revoked instead of a browser.

When it comes to switching to HTTPS, it’s not as hard it may seem and you may only require 2 to 3 steps to get it done quickly. It’s a fairly straight forward method that shouldn’t take a lot of time for a small site, and also your hosting company can be able to assist you in doing so easily.

One should also bear in mind that for a small website it is usually pretty easy to switch and you won’t find yourself applying most of the scenarios above such as code libraries and CDNs. However, for a larger site, it should be managed by an experienced webmaster.

 

Also read: What Is the Role of Tech in the Fight Against HIV?

Why You Need to Switch to HTTPS Today 1

Author: Katende Basajjabaka

Katende writes about sports and occasionally technology.

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