Why use HTTPS vs. HTTP? And what are the benefits of switching?

mobile phone with https secure icon
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Simply put, the strongest case for switching to HTTPS is that you are making your website more secure. It can safeguard your data and that of your customers, and bring you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’re protected from other problems such as malicious ads or spyware, that can ruin your site’s reputation.

So what is HTTPS?

The S stands for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which is a technology that encrypts your website connection, preventing hackers from grabbing any of your data. SSL helps to keep important information like banking and login details secure.

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The benefits of HTTPS


One of the main benefits of HTTPS is that it adds security and trust. It protects users against man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks that can be launched from compromised or insecure networks. Hackers can use such techniques to steal your customer’s sensitive information.

The SEO Value

If your domain has the letters https in front of the www, then your site will have a clear advantage over those that are stuck with the old http. This fact comes direct from Google. Back in 2015, Gary Illyes revealed that if two web pages are equal in other respects, the Google search engine will always prefer those that are Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). Evidence from Mozcast bears that out. Between January and October last year, the number of sites that appeared in the top slot of Google searches that were https compliant rose from 25% to 40%.

The reason why the Google algorithm increasingly prefers https is that the company wants to prioritise secure websites. In fact, Google has been open about its desire to ensure that one day the whole web is secure, including sites that are not handling sensitive information. The Google Chrome update 56 that came out in January 2017 is another step towards this goal. Since this update was rolled out, Chrome users have started to receive security warnings every time they access a site served by http and not https. Over the next few months, Google’s preference for https is likely to severely disadvantage http sites.

Http not secure warning in chrome

Mobile Technology

There is another important advantage in switching to HTTPS. No serious modern business can afford to overlook mobile technology. Making sure that your site is mobile-friendly by considering such factors as page loading speed, is as crucial to success in the modern marketplace as employing the latest in SEO strategy.

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is becoming an increasingly important part of optimising your domain for smartphones. Google created AMP to help to speed up loading times on mobile devices, and AMP content tends to appear more prominently in search results, but it can only work with sites that are served by https. This is also increasingly the case for the new generation of browsers and progressive web apps, which are designed with https in mind and won’t be effective with http.

Should You Switch

It is likely that at some point, site owners will be left with little option but to switch to HTTPS, and getting ahead of the curve by switching now could give your site a significant advantage.  If you would like advice on HTTPS or want to secure your website please feel free to contact Granite 5 on: hello@granite5.com or 01223 208008