HTTPS – What is it? Why would you need it?
Have you ever noticed that little padlock icon next to the website URL in your browser and wondered what it meant? No? Well you won’t be able to unsee it now. What this means is that the website is secure – if there’s no padlock icon, it usually means that the data travelling between your browser and the website isn’t encrypted or protected. A secure site implements HTTPS – hypertext transfer protocol secure – which is the secure communication of information within a computer network or internet.
You may be thinking, “So what? I’ve got nothing to hide” but we’re talking about sensitive information that your browser holds. Information like passwords, identification, credit card numbers, and so on. You definitely don’t want that information floating around in cyberspace.
How https protects you
What you need if you have a website is a Secure Sockets Layer Certificate, an SSL certificate. This is how you go from no padlock to padlock, HTTP to HTTPS and insecure to secure. SSL locks your data and ensures only those with authorisation can access it. It’s basically your front-line defense against hackers.
Regular websites that use HTTP, direct you to the right site by looking up the IP address of that website, but it doesn’t check that it isn’t from a malicious source or not, it assumes it’s correct and connects you to it anyway.
Anybody who wanted to intercept the information between the two sites could easily spoof a false link that would connect you to their own server and then on to the real site. They would essentially be a connection between you and the site you want to interact with. They can take as much information as they like from you and neither you or the site you think you are connected to can tell the difference.
This is actually such a common form of attacking sites for information it is known as a “middleman attack.”
Five ways HTTPS will benefit your website
- It encrypts your sensitive information and creates a lock for which only you have the key.
- It provides identity verification for your website. When you implement SSL, there is a validation process which proves yours or your organisation’s identity so that your website can then vouch for your identity. Your website users will see this, too, so that your organisation can maintain credibility.
- Your ranking on search engines is improved because secure websites are prioritised in search engine algorithms.
- If you are providing any kind of ecommerce where payment details are entered into your site, your website will comply with the legal requirements – and hey, that’s kind of important, right?
- Your website users and customers see the padlock and know they’re in safe hands, making your website and organisation more trustworthy and reliable.
How we can help
If you’re looking to install HTTPS on your website or enquire about hosting your website with us, call 07 3390 1562 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.