Upgrading from HTTP to HTTPS
How would you feel if you clicked on a website, and up pops a warning saying “Website Not Secure”.
What would you do?
Click away and leave, probably. And so would most other people. Many would run for the hills. No one likes feeling insecure. We like to be safe.
When July 2018 hits, Google Chrome will make sure a strong warning will pop up on any website that has not yet updated from “http” to “https”.
The warning will include something along the lines of “Website Not Secure. Run For Those Hills.” Maybe not the second part, but definitely the first. It will also include a nasty red warning triangle on your website. Yuk.
Since around 50% of website surfer dudes and dudettes of all ages use Google Chrome, this is a big deal.
If you want to keep people on your site, it’s a good idea to upgrade to https, and keep them free from any dark warning about your website not being safe.
What Are You On About?
Whenever you look at the full url (web address) for a website, it will begin with either “http://” or “https://”.
For example: https://www.dotgo.uk/
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is a structure which allows information to be retrieved from a website and presented to you, on your screen.
Imagine it as a bit like a magic portal that can take your website from it’s home (the server), carry it on to the internet and display it somewhere else.
In case you didn’t know, the server is a machine that hosts your website and connects it to the internet. It’s basically a really clever box with a few lights on it.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. This is the same as HTTP, except this is combined with another protocal called “SSL” to make it the secure version – HTTPS.
If you’re wondering, SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”. I bet you were dying to know that too.
When HTTP and SSL get together, they merge to form HTTPS. It’s a real love affair. This secures the connection between the website’s home (the server), and the web browser accessing the website (eg. Google Chrome).
Securing The Connection With HTTPS
Securing the connection between the website and your browser means its more difficult for anyone else to access your website browsing. It’s harder to be spied on.
This is particularly relevant for Wi-Fi users who might be using an insecure Wi-Fi connection – where someone else is trying to “break in” to your Wi-Fi and watch what you are doing online. HTTPS helps prevent them spying on you.
HTTPS means you get these three beauties running through the information on your website too:
- Encryption – data such as browsing history, credit card information, addresses and messages submitted on your site become encrypted – harder to access by anyone else.
- Data integrity – so data can not be altered by anyone during transmission. You keep more control.
- Authentication – your users have proof that your website is really you, not some nasty fake duplicate.
Why Upgrade to HTTPS?
Let’s make it simple.
- It increases the security for your users
- No Google Chrome “insecure” warnings pop up, which should mean more people will stay.
- It is a “stamp of safety”. Seeing “https” means your users will trust your website more, and hopefully stay for longer.
- It might increase you Google rankings. Google has already said it will favour HTTP websites over HTTPS. But we can;t make any guarantees.
How Can I Upgrade To HTTPS?
That depends on who your website hosting provider is. It can either be easy and free, or tricky and costly.
Some web hosts provide an SSL certificate leading to HTTPS for free, as standard.
If they don’t, you will have to buy an SSL certificate and install it on your website yourself, along with re-submitting your new SSL certified website to Google for indexing – so that it knows you can be found as an HTTPS version now.
Luckily, if you are a DotGO customer, we have it all covered. We are updating all our websites hosted with us to have full SSL certification, which means HTTPS instead of HTTP for all our client’s websites. This means your website is more secure and Google-friendly.
We take care of all the re-indexing with Google for you, so you don’t have to do any of the tricky stuff. We will do it for you, in time for the upcoming July Google security clamp-down.
If you are a DotGO client, all you need to do is:
- Log in to your DotGO account
- Click “Other Settings” in the menu
- Click “Secure SSL https://”
- Click “Secure Your Website With SSL Certification”
That’s it. Easy. And free!
We’ve got you covered.
For some more info, here are some commonly asked questions on the whole HTTPS party…
How Long Will It Take To Upgrade?
The instructions above should take 60 seconds. Faster if you are a real web ninja.
Then in 12-24 hours, your site will be upgraded.
You will be able to rest in delight as you stare at your brand new green “secure” bar next to the web address at the top of your browser. You’re in for a good time.
Does My Web Address Stay The Same?
Practically speaking, yes. You don’t have to make any new business cards!
Your domain name: www.mydomain.com stays exactly the same. If someone ever types this in to a web browser, they will still go directly to your site.
Now they will be on the new “https” secure version, instead of the old “http” version which is no longer valid. Simple.
Will It Definitely Make Google Love Me More?
The Google Chrome browser will not paste a red triangular warning on your website. That’s surely a sign of love.
Google also inferred in 2015 that an HTTPS website could get the upper hand over a similar HTTP website in its search engine rankings…
However, we can not say for sure how it will effect your Google position. It might help, it might not.
In our experience we have seen that once the upgrade is made to HTTPS, if someone is using spammy-keyword-stuffing-shenanigans (that’s the official term) to try to fool Google into sending them up the ranks, Google will no longer tolerate it. They will start to punish you and send you further down the ranks, like a demoted army general. Painful.
Get rid of the keyword stuffing tricks if you have any.
What Else Should I Do Before Upgrading?
- Make sure if you have any internal links (links to other pages on your website) – they link to your new HTTPS address.
- If you have added any code from other websites – make sure the other website is also HTTPS.
- If you have any links to another website – make sure you remove any link that has the bog-standard HTTP. Now if you link to other sites, it needs to be HTTPS!
Any More Questions?
We hope this has shed some light on what HTTPS even means, what it gives you, and how we’ve made it easy for you to upgrade.
If you need to ask us any questions about the upcoming HTTPS clamp-down from Google and what it means for your website, feel free to contact us here.