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Web Security: Use HTTPS to Secure Your Site

User security is always the top priority for any website. To reduce the risk for users to browse a website over an insecure connection and making themselves vulnerable to content injection attacks, in August 2014 and in latest post published on December 17, 2015, Google has official announced that switching your website over to HTTPS will give you a minor ranking boost. So what is HTTPS and why should you use this protocol scheme?

Recently, we increasingly lead our lives online; all of our personal and financial details, interests and communications take place there. However, when we access a website and provide this information, we are not able to ensure whether the site we are on is correct or not. Moreover, accessing via HTTP URLs, you are putting yourself at the risk of eavesdropping, man-in-the-middle attacks, or data modification. Using HTTPS is a safe way to protect your site and your users.

In essence, HTTPS stands for HTTP Secure, as its name, this is a secure version of HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol, which is a system for transmitting and receiving information across the Internet. In other words, HTTPS working with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) offers you an extra layer of security; hence, your data is transferred safely.

The question is that which benefits you receive when you switch from HTTP to HTTPS. There are 3 main advantages webmasters gain when process this change including: increased security, more referrer data and boost in rankings.

1. Security

After your site goes HTTPS, there is a “lock” icon in web browsers:

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When two URLs from the same domain appear to have the same content but are served over different protocol schemes, it is safe to select HTTPS because with this URL, the website is verified to be the one the server is supposed to be talking to. Obviously, this is an effective way to build the trust among your users. Additionally, HTTPS helps us to prevent tampering by 3rd parties and make your site more secure for visitors. Moreover, by using this scheme, all your communication including URLs is encrypted, which protects things like browsing history and credit card numbers.

2. Ranking boost

Google has also confirmed the slight ranking boost of HTTPS sites. Although now it’s only a very lightweight signal – affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, the value of switching to HTTPS is very likely to increase over time. Some tips are revealed to make your URLs friendly with searching engine. According to this official post, HTTPS URLs will be indexed if:

• It doesn’t contain insecure dependencies.

• It isn’t blocked from crawling by robots.txt.

• It doesn’t redirect users to or through an insecure HTTP page.

• It doesn’t have a rel="canonical" link to the HTTP page.

• It doesn’t contain a noindex robots meta tag.

• It doesn’t have on-host outlinks to HTTP URLs.

• The sitemaps lists the HTTPS URL, or doesn’t list the HTTP version of the URL.

• The server has a valid TLS certificate.

3. Referrer data

When traffic passes through a HTTP URL, the referral data is stripped away and is reported as “Direct”. Unlikely HTTP protocol, for HTTPS URL, this secure data will be preserved.

Besides, there are some challenges with HTTPS. As examples, your site is likely to be slow down when using this secure protocol or you have to pay an amount for SSL certificates. However, it is highly recommended that you should make the switch to HTTPS to protect your site and your users and keep up with Google. Have you recently used this protocol scheme and seen any results? Please let us know your experience in comment section below.

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