The https protocol guarantees the safety of the personal data the users submit while browsing websites. Browsers like Chrome or Firefox urge publishers to adopt the https protocol to finally have all the websites using it.
HTTP / HTTPS, what is it?
The http protocol (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and the https protocol (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) are communication protocols between clients and servers. They allow the exchange of data between a users’ browser and the server of a website.
For a few years, Google has been urging the publishers to go from the http protocol to the https one in order to increase the confidentiality and then the safety of the users. Indeed, the https protocol allows the encryption of the data exchanged between the user and the server, which prevents the interception of those information by a third party.
We’ve noticed an acceleration of this trend for a year. For example, according to Google, in 2017, 71 of the 100 most visited websites in the world were secured by the https protocol against 37 in 2016.
Google flags now all the websites that still don’t use the https protocol. Read more about the sanctions here.
Statistics of Chrome on the share of websites in https in 2016 and in 2017 depending on the operating systems:
If this transition is knowing such a fast growth, it’s because the internet ecosystem is acting toward it. As a matter of fact, the browsers indicate as « not secure » the websites in http to warn the users. The certification authority Let’s Encrypt is offering free SSL certificate to publishers to simplify the access to the https protocol. Finally, web hosts such as OVH and WordPress.com have contributed to the establishment of SSL certificates for the websites they host.
How to identify secured websites from the others?
When you browse on a secured website, the search bar of your browser is displaying as below. It means that your personal data are private and cannot be hijacked. You can safely browse.
If you are browsing on an unsecured website, the search bar of your browser is displaying as below. It is advised against filling personal information on those websites, they might be used by a malicious third party.
Unsecured or dangerous website
If the search bar is displaying as below, it means you are browsing on a not secured or dangerous website. It is highly advised against filling any personal information on this website. A malicious user might have access to your data.
Added to the « not secured » status, websites not using the https protocol might be sanctioned on the SEO level on the various browsers and then see their traffic drop drastically. On the other hand, https websites position should rise in the search results.
How to go to the https protocol ?
You must get an SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer) to ensure the safe connection between the server of your website and your users’ browsers.
Several certification authorities such as Let’s Encrypt or Comodo can provide you one. Let’s Encrypt is free and suits perfectly to personal websites whereas Comodo is a paid service but suits more professional and e-commerce websites.
When you get your SSL certificate, you must implement it on your server. This step is usually done by your web host.
You now know it, adopting the https protocol presents many advantages. If your website is still with http, we highly recommend you to go with https to ensure your users safety but also to increase your traffic thanks to organic search.