Have you ever noticed how some websites have “http” in their URL while others have “https”? This post explains what HTTPS is and why your website will need it soon.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure. HTTPS protects the integrity and confidentiality of website users’ data.
For example, when a user enters data into a form on a site in order to subscribe to updates or purchase a product, a secure site protects that user’s personal information and ensures that the user communicates with the authorized owner of the site.
Why Do I Need HTTPS for My Website?
Security has become a customer expectation. We all expect websites — especially those that belong to a business — to be secure. Plus, you should want to protect your users’ data. I don’t know if having HTTPS is a positive in users’ eyes, but public awareness of HTTPS is going to grow, and web users soon will view not having a HTTPS as a negative.
But What If I Don’t Process Transactions?
HTTPS probably seems like overkill if you’re not processing transactions, but there’s another reason why you should strongly consider HTTPS:
Big Brother Google wants you to do it.
Google announced in August that HTTPS is a new element in its search-ranking algorithm.
For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
Translation: in the not-so-distant future, Google will give more weight to HTTPS, and you’ll add it so you don’t get punished in the search rankings.
How Do I Add HTTPS To My Website?
To add HTTPS to your website, you’ll need to purchase something called an SSL certificate. Contact your webmaster or hosting company to find out what needs to be done to get the certificate.
I’m using the Rainmaker Platform. HTTPS is free for Rainmaker users, but users have to request it. I did that today and HTTPS was installed within 90 minutes. Woohoo!
How Much Does HTTPS Cost?
Prices vary, but here are examples:
• Media Temple, $75/year
• Comodo, $99/year
If you know of less-expensive options, please share your knowledge in the comments below.
Google’s HTTPS Everywhere Campaign
As I said above, Google wants everyone to have HTTPS. And what Google wants, Google usually gets. Google kicked off its “HTTPS Everywhere” campaign in June. You can watch it below.
 “Secure your site with HTTPS,” Google Support
 “HTTPS as a ranking signal,” Google Webmaster Central Blog
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