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How to Prepare in Advance for Google recommended HTTPS Website

Switching-HTTP-to-HTTPS-Large-Size-copy

Google has announced that Chrome will start marking HTTP websites as non-secure from October 2017.  The Chrome will show “Not secure’’ warning on all HTTP sites in two scenarios: all HTTP pages visited in Incognito mode and when user enter data on an HTTP page.

It is quite obvious to consider Google’s recommendation and this is the right time to get prepared in advance to shift your website from HTTP to HTTPS.

Let’s understand the difference between HTTP and HTTPS for a clear understanding to make a decision on switching a website from HTTP to HTTPS.

Why Google Wants All Websites to Migrate from HTTP to HTTPS

1.Security, Trust & Creditability

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an internet communication protocol, which protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the website and the user’s computer. Every user on internet expect secure and private online experience, thus, Google is encouraging to adopt HTTPS to protect user’s connection to websites for providing safe, secure and better experience.

Simply put, HTTPS allows a browser or web application to connect with the website. Also, Google gives a ranking boost to those websites that are using secure connection.

According to Builtwith, as of September 2017, 31.9 % of the top 10,000 websites are using HTTPS. That is almost double from 18.6% back in March 2017.

SSL-by-Default-Usage-Statistics-BuiltWith

Top Websites HTTPS Usage

 

Following are the other advantages of switching a website from HTTP to HTTPS:

HTTP-to-HTTPS-advantages

2.Clear Insights & Referral Traffic

Apart from a secure website and SEO advantages switching to HTTPS have other advantages. A website gets referrer data as when traffic passes to an HTTPS site then the secure referral information is preserved, which is unlikely to happen in case of a HTTP website.

However, a lot of people don’t realize is that HTTPS to HTTP referral data is blocked in Google Analytics. So, you must be curious to know what happened to that data, it simply gets lumped together with the Direct traffic.

 

3. Chrome Announcement

Also, Google has announced in January 2017 that the version of Chrome 56 and higher are now marking HTTP sites that transmit credit cards and passwords as non-secure.  And with the upcoming Chrome 62 HTTP site will become non-secure destination for users.

google-chrome-security-warning-http-site

 

Have a glimpse at how Chrome 62 will showcase HTTP site to users:

Chrome-62-http-search

This is what Google describes about HTTP sites as non-secure:

“When you load a website over HTTP, someone else on the network can look at or modify the site before it gets to you. Studies show that users do not perceive the lack of a “secure” icon as a warning, but also that users become blind to warnings that occur too frequently. Our plan to label HTTP sites more clearly and accurately as non-secure will take place in gradual steps, based on increasingly stringent criteria.”

Google

Moreover, Firefox followed the suit and it shows a grey padlock with a red line through it for non-secure websites that are collecting passwords.

 HTTP-Login-with-warning-Firefox

4.The Performance

And ultimately, the performance of a properly optimized site over HTTPS will see speed improvements due to a new protocol called HTTP/2, which means they will be faster than what they are now. And HTTP/2 requires HTTPS because of major browsers’ support.

Also, the performance improvement includes many reasons such as HTTP/2 ability to support better multiplexing, parallelism, HPACK compression with Huffman encoding, server push and the ALPN extension.

Let’s examine some important considerations for making the switch to secure website setup:

How to get prepared in advance for the HTTPS

1. Get Ready

Businesses need to get ready before spending money on SSL Certificate and start implementing shifting from HTTP to HTTPS. Don’t plan to shift your website in a sale season, it’s not a good idea as it will take some time and a website may face downtime.

It’s smart to expect downtime and you can’t afford this when the sales are on the peak. You can simply lose business just because your website is down. Also, don’t expect your site will be up in a weekend as site shifting to HTTPS is time consuming and it needs to be done once and all at the most suitable time.

It is wise to plan and get prepared during the off season or off time of day and sales cycle.

Also, check whether your hosting service provider can manage HTTPS website as in some hosting providers need some extra configuration. Before you spend money on hosting make sure it’s worth spending and your host is ready to accommodate your website.

Inform your teams: sales team, marketing team, and development team working on the site to communicate the same message to your visitors.

Ultimately, once you’re ready with preparations you can start with the process of switching links and setting up redirects, which will take time! Make sure to finish this entire process at once as  website downtime can be crucial for any business.

 

 2. SSL Certificate

Buy a SSL certificate and it is a quick process. Most of the hosting service provider sell SSL Certificate. Generally, a standard SSL Certificate will cost you around $10-$20.There is a difference between certificate.com and www.certificate.com and you can’t expect that a standard certificate will cover both, whereas the expensive Wild Card will cover both.

A website may not require both for setup. But, if you’re still feeling that your site may require a special certificate then you must consult with expert developers.

28.9% of visitors look for the green address bar in their browser. Click To Tweet

The SSL Certificate implementation will make a website show up with a green lock in the address bar, check it in the below image:

HTTPS-adress-bar

 

3. Configure Hosting with SSL Certificate

The task will consist of generating keys from the seller and passing them into the control panel of your website hosting provider. Be mindful while executing the fields and always consult with the support team of your hosting partner.

Once the configuration part is done then a site will not be showing any warning messages about invalid certificates when visiting HTTPS pages. Clear your cache to see the changes on a website after the implementation or ask someone to check on these changes who hasn’t visit your website. You can always check the implemented changes in Incognito mode.

You can check if you’ve configured SSL Certificate properly using SSLTest and Chrome Security Panel.

Also, you can consider the reasons to speed-up HTTPS using IsTlsFastYet to enumerates which platforms support each feature.

77% of online users are worried about their data being intercepted or misused online. Click To Tweet

 

4. Change all website links to HTTPS

Get a better understanding of using relative links and not using hard-code links. This will play a role when you’ll change all your webpages to HTTPS. Also, the Content Management System (CMS) will make more sense as it will save a lot of time.

If a business is using WordPress as a CMS, then migration from HTTP to HTTPS can be done in a couple of ways. This can be done at the server level (recommended by the Monks) or it can be done with the help of a free WordPress plugin.

5. Server side 301 redirects (Consider HSTS)

A business can’t risk losing valuable search equity and it needs to redirect all 301 from HTTP to HTTPS. Simply put below mentioned code to the top of your .htaccess file in the root folder. Test thoroughly that a website is well functioning after the code implementation and check that the request made to the website is redirected well.

However, if a business want to say at the forefront of technology and won’t care of losing a few handful users then it must redirect to HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security).

HTTPS-301-Redirect

Above mentioned advantages have made it clear to move a website from HTTP to HTTPS to grab these opportunities, let’s have a look at the below comparison table to know the main difference between HTTP and HTTPS:

 

HTTP

HTTPS

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

HTTPS= HTTP+SSL

Developed by Tim Burners-Lee

Developed by Netscape Communications

Unsecure

Secure

HTTP uses port no: 80

HTTPS uses port no: 443

It uses no encryption

It uses encryption for secure transition

HTTP needs no certification

HTTPS needs certification

It operates at “Application Layer” in OSI Model

It operates at “Transport Layer” in OSI Model

HTTP URL starts with “http://”

HTTPS URL starts with “https://”

 

Conclusion:

All businesses must switch their websites from HTTP to HTTPS to make their websites secure for users. Shifting a website from HTTP to HTTPS will need an expert’s assistance and it will take some time. However, Monks will be happy to assist you in migrating  a website to HTTPS for secure connection and better user experience.

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Nick Patel
Nick is a Tech Monk working as a Marketing Head at WebbyMonks. He loves to explore cutting edge technology and share his write-ups through this blog. An avid learner, WordPress lover, passionate technology enthusiasts, and interested in everything tech. While not writing for technology you can find him fishing, shooting with camera, and brewing more filter coffee. On a lighter note, he is here to learn, explore, and overcome technology while falling in love with the tiny nonsense of daily life.

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