Why HTTPS is important for your website

Why HTTPS is important for your website

In the past, HTTPS was an optional upgrade for eCommerce websites, but it is now a must. At the end of 2017, Google began using ‘not secure’ notices in their Chrome browser for sites that had not obtained an SSL certificate. These sites suffer in search rankings, making it even more important that you have this feature on your site.

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security protocol for creating encrypted links between a web server and a browser. The use of SSL ensures that data transmitted between the web server and browser remains encrypted. Depending on what kind of data your website is processing, an SSL certificate can cost between $10 per month to $200.

Because commercial real estate mainly displays property information and collects data from its visitors via contact forms, a Positive SSL or Domain Validation SSL certificate would suffice.

Why do I need an SSL certificate?

As data breaches and theft become more frequent, it is important for websites that collect user data to elevate their security protocols. SSL certificates ensure another layer of protection for users in a time where people may lack trust in such websites. Google’s limitations on their search engines has pushed many businesses to finally take the step towards SSL certification.

Besides a basic requirement from Google, there are many benefits to going forward with installing SSL certificates on your website. With the ‘lock’ icon that appears next to your address bar, you’re helping to increase trust from visitors. A large percentage of visitors have admitted that they will suspend a transaction if they don’t see the ‘lock’ icon that accompanies SSL verification.

In 2014, Google suggested that HTTPS encryption would impact search engine rankings and results. Those with this encryption enabled performed better in Google’s listings against sites that haven’t been certified. Sites that do not have an SSL certification are labelled, and often times these sites will be blocked from user access if the information collected is considered as personally identifiable and no SSL is installed. This can be a major hinderance to your traffic. When all is said and done, it is better to go forward with the SSL certification than to go without, especially with the elevating standards of cyber security.

How do I obtain an SSL certification?

While getting an SSL certificate is pretty simple, it’s advisable to get a web developer or utilize the help of your hosting company to get it done.

First, you must purchase the SSL certificate. Most hosting providers and many third parties specialize in SSL, but you want to be careful that you only purchase what your website needs and not just pay for a more overpriced option. There are four main types of SSL certification: single domain, wildcard (also for subdomains), multi-domain and extended validation (This is for sites that involve advanced levels of user data interaction).

Next, you want to install the certificate. The set up involves generation of the certificate and signing request with your web developer or your chosen hosting platform, creating a Private Key and Signing Request, and finally combining with the host of the certificate.

Finally, you must upgrade to HTTPS. You’ve installed the SSL certificate, but that isn’t enough. Now you must upgrade your website. Your server should be updated to show HTTPS content, as well as the links to any pages within your site, such as property pages.

Where to get an SSL certificate

There are multiple options for upgrading your website’s security. Here are a few, but there are many more if these do not work for you.

  • GoDaddy.com – If you’re currently hosting your site on GoDaddy, they offer purchase of a single domain SSL.
  • Let’s Encrypt (letsencrypt.org) is a free, automated and open certificate authority.
  • Your chosen web hosting platform is also a great source if they offer SSL certification options. They may also be able to help with the installation process.

It’s becoming increasingly important ensure browsing security to your customers. For the benefit of your business, this is the next basic step to take. So, take some time to do your research and choose an SSL certificate that works for you and upgrade today. Need some help? Contact us and we’ll walk you through it!