If you use Google Chrome, the web browser of choice for most of the world, you’ll probably have noticed a little ‘i’ symbol popping up next to the url in the browser bar recently. When clicked, that little ‘i’ will show a warning like this.
This is Google Chrome letting the person browsing your website know that your site is not secure.
Why should the person browsing your site care about this?
It’s because hackers can gather critical information about you simply by looking at how you access a website. That’s before you even enter any kind of sensitive information like your name, email address, street address, phone number, credit card details, passwords and the like.
Right now, Google Chrome is showing just that little ‘i’ symbol. In the not-too-distant-future, however, they will be showing this instead:
Why? Google wants all websites in the world to be secure, and this is effectively their way of forcing people to do it.
So, that’s one very good reason why you should make your site HTTPS. Here are five more:
1. Higher Google Ranking
Last year Google improved its search algorithms to give an advantage to HTTPS websites. Google’s Gary Illyes, in an interview, said that when the quality signals for two web pages are for all other purposes equal, the search engine prefers HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) sites. In other words, this ranking signal alone will push the secure domain ahead of the unsecured one.
It could also potentially give you an edge over the competition. Let’s say you and a competitor are battling for a search keyword position. Having HTTPS instead of HTTP in your domain could be all it takes to tip you over the edge and claim a higher position on search results page. It can also be the difference between page 1 and page 2 of a Google search.
2. Faster Speed
Contrary to the common belief, HTTPS is faster than HTTP when it comes to loading web pages. HTTPS is known to be “stateless”, meaning it does not carry information regarding previous sessions. Less information means faster transfer time. While results may vary depending on the connection speed and other factors, tests show that HTTPS websites load 80-90% faster, when compared to HTTP.
3. More Trustworthy
With Google Chrome becoming more overt in distinguishing secure websites from insecure sites, web browsers are also going to become more savvy. When a website is using an HTTPS connection, this can form trust in users and boost their confidence in the business.
4. Better Compatibility
In many cases, having a HTTPS connection is a requirement for using a web application. For instance, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a Google project that provides standards for websites to increase compatibility with mobile platforms.
With more users accessing the internet using personal mobile devices, having a presence on a mobile platform is critical for any website. However, AMP requires HTTPS to function. Furthermore, as the need for security grows, more web applications are expected to require HTTPS to work.
5. More Future Ready
As mentioned previously, web applications are moving towards requiring HTTPS to function. More specifically, functions such as recording video, recording sound and taking pictures all require HTTPS. However, more importantly, many innovative features that can disrupt the web development industry will require HTTPS.
One example is the growing number of APIs that are available to web developers. APIs allow developers to interact with other platforms, such as Facebook’s messaging platform, but they require HTTPS connections to be enabled.
Over to you
Whether you like it or not the push to switch to HTTPS will only become stronger. With the likes of HTTP/2 and Google AMP requiring secure connections for browsers to use them. The common use of HTTPS is almost inevitable.
Making the switch can be technically challenging. However, with an expert overseeing the migration you can avoid problems with switching. Common problems that do occur are usually the result of improperly implemented redirects.
Taking a long-term view, there are many significant benefits associated with HTTPS. Not only are there benefits that can instantly benefit website owners, such as better speed and improved security, but also having HTTPS enabled, ensures that the website is ready for what the future of the web industry has to offer.