HTTPS, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, used to be exclusively used for financial transactions or email networks online. However, in recent times HTTPS is becoming more widespread as more and more site owners enjoy the benefits of secure communication for themselves and their users. To better help explain what HTTPS is, check out the quick video below.
With so many people adopting this technology, a lot of site owners are probably asking themselves whether or not HTTPS is right for them. In this article, we’ll look at the various features and advantage of this system of communication. With this information, you should hopefully find it much easier to make a smart decision regarding the future of your website.
In this day and age, security is of paramount importance to the majority of technology users. A number of high-profile cyber-breaches have made the general public startlingly aware of the importance of privacy when it comes to their personal documents and information. Everyone is connected nowadays, with smartphones and tablets the latest additions to a growing catalogue of devices used each and every day all around the world.
With greater levels of exposure come greater levels of concern. Essentially, more people are now banking, buying, selling, storing, sharing and engaging in all sorts of other activities on the internet, and they all want to be sure that their private data is kept safe and secure.
To make matters worse, people are becoming increasingly worried about the idea of governments spying on them and stealing their data. Criminal attacks are obviously another major threat; the idea of someone having access to a person’s credit card details or private phone number is a matter of grave concern for the average internet user. This is where HTTPS comes in. Nowadays, approximately 1/3 of all sites on the internet make use of HTTPS, including the biggest and most popular sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google.
The extra layer of encryption helps to make these sites seem more responsible and reliable in the eye of the public. This means that more users feel safe signing up and using the site, which becomes more successful as a result. Naturally, this is the biggest advantage of HTTPS for a typical site owner, but a lot of sites are still failing to adopt this great technology.
If you own a site and need some additional motivation to start working with HTTPS, you only need to look at the risks associated with unencrypted communications. Without the extra layer of encryption, everything on your site is vulnerable to attacks from hackers or observation from governments and outside parties.
Simply typing a password to sign into an account, for example, is a very dangerous activity on a site that doesn’t use HTTPS. The password can easily be seen by people who know what they’re doing. With access to passwords, malicious hackers could easily access countless personal files and do a lot of damage to you and your users.
A lot of people aren’t aware of just how easy it is to access this sort of data, but hackers have a number of methods at their disposal, including easy-to-use automated tools, to quickly break into WiFi networks and observe the communications that take place. Once a hacker gets your password, they could log into your site, delete your content, post spam messages, install malicious software and perform all sorts of other actions that could completely destroy years of hard work you might have spent developing your site and building connections with your users.
It’s not just your site that would be at risk if someone had access to your password either. Too many people use the same password for multiple accounts. This means that a hacker could access email accounts, bank accounts and private information on a range of other sites if you or your users happen to use the same password for multiple accounts.
We’ve seen countless examples of this throughout history and the biggest sites frequently instruct their users to change passwords regularly and use different codes for each site they visit. It’s easy to see how HTTPS helps to solve this problem. With a secure layer of encryption preventing any attack or observation from taking place, you and your users won’t need to worry about anyone accessing your data.
We’ve talked a lot about passwords and vital information like credit card details, but even the simplest piece of information can be a goldmine for hackers and malicious users. By simply gaining access to a phone number or email address, hackers can organize “spear phishing” attacks. These attacks involve spam messages or calls being sent to a victim from someone claiming to be a representative of the site they visit or company they work for. These messages can contain malicious software, links to dangerous sites, or they may simply be used to communicate with your users. Either way, if you allow these things to happen then your visitors may be less likely to trust you with their details.
Overall, there’s really no reason not to switch to HTTPS. Some site owners are concerned by reports of slower performance or the cost of making the change, but performance tests have shown that there is no real difference between HTTP and HTTPS. As for the cost, increased security on your site will increase your conversion rate and boost your profile, so this technology will easily pay for itself multiple times over in the long-term.
If you want to offer a secure and reliable service to your visitors and build a reputation as a site owner that can be trusted, HTTPS is a must-have.