Since early 2017, Google has been ranking HTTPS websites higher in searches.
They are doing this in recognition of the increased need for security. Internet users are more and more likely to use coffee shops, city libraries and other public areas to browse sites and hackers are getting more sophisticated. We recommend that whether you care about search rankings or not, you protect both yourself and your customers and switch over.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS is a simple encryption layer that sits on top of your website, ensuring that the data is encrypted as it transfers to browsers. This means that if hackers are sitting beside you in a coffee shop, they can’t intercept your information. Well, they can but it would be garbled nonsense.
This is why we have insisted on it for years for online shopping. We are now trending towards high security for all data.
How Do I Install It?
There is a three step process to installing https.
- (Always) take a full backup and store it off the server before making major changes
- Purchase a SSL certificate from your hosting provider (GoDaddy or Bluehost etc). This typically costs around $100.
- Confirm ownership and link the certificate to your domain following the instructions of your hosting provider.
- In WordPress, change any hard links from http:// to https:// or simply to //. This can be labor intensive. I like to use the Easy HTTPS Redirection plugin by Tips and Tricks to redirect the links at least initially.
- Test your site through a linkchecker / crawler application like Powermapper.