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Introduction to HTTPS for Technical SEO

Making a user's browsing experience on your website safe and secure is a fundamental element of a sound technical SEO strategy.

This article looks at one of the ways webmasters can make that happen by switching to a HTTPS protocol.

What is HTTPS?

To put it simply, HTTPS is a secure way to make a data transfer between a web server and a web browser.

How is HTTPS different from HTTP?

HTTPS is HTTP with encryption, which makes the requests and responses between a browser and a server more secure. Over the last decade, it has become the standard protocol for browsing experience across the internet.

HTTP stands for "hypertext transfer protocol", which allows for communication between two different systems on the internet. Most commonly, it transfers data from a server to a browser so a web page can be viewed by a user. To illustrate, after a user enters a query and click on a link in search results, this protocol begins when the browser creates and sends a series of requests to the server in order to get the information necessary to render the page.

The problem with HTTP is that the information flowing from the server to the browser is not encrypted, so sensitive data like passwords and credit card numbers can be easily stolen. The text of this information appears plainly such that anyone monitoring the connection can read it it. This is why HTTPS is valuable. It uses a technology called public key encryption, so that potential attackers see random characters instead of clear information when attempting to monitor a session between a browser and a server.

The next time you navigate to a website, notice the HTTP vs HTTPS protocol at the beginning of the URL. If you are entering a website using HTTP protocol, you will also receive a popup notification that you are browsing an insecure website.

What are the benefits of using HTTPS?

Benefits of Using HTTPS for Users:

The benefit of using a secure web browser while surfing the web is clear for users. When users have a secure connection, the risk of a third party getting a hold of their sensitive information — like credit card number or social security number — is low.

Three Benefits of Using HTTPS for Website Owners:

  1. Google provides a small ranking increase to your site. Why? First, Google cares that users can safely and securely access websites from their search results. Second, users are simply more likely to visit and stay longer on sites they know are safe and secure.
  2. Google Analytics data is improved. Sites with HTTP connections vaguely show referral sources as "direct" traffic. Sites with secure HTTPS connections show a more precise referral source.
  3. AMP is enabled. If you are a news publisher or business that needs to load content onto mobile devices at a faster rate so users can have a better experience, this stripped-down form of web pages allows you do that. So if you care about the mobile-friendliness of your site and need to rely on AMP, you need to switch to HTTPS as well.

How to Move a Website to HTTPS

One solution to consider is moving your site to the Huckabuy Cloud. On our platform, your website is secure and delivered using the fastest and safest protocol: HTTPs with optional HTTP2. In order to serve this, we create an SSL certificate for you at no additional cost. Additionally, edge servers can optionally terminate SSL, which provides flexibility on your origin server via HTTPs or HTTP.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate a security certificate that enables websites to move from HTTP to HTTPS and achieve a more secure connection.

An SSL certificate includes information about who/what the security certificate is being issued to, and information about the certificate authority that issued it, as well as the date it was issued, when it expires, and the public key. Certificate authorities are a trusted third party organization that generates SSL certificates.

What is SSL?

SSL is a protocol for encrypting internet traffic data and verifying server identity. SSL is also commonly referred to as TLS.