HTTPS: The Key to Securing Your Website and Winning User Trust
Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular. As a result, people's anxieties about their safety grow. People are becoming increasingly accustomed to browsing for goods and services to purchase online. On the other hand, they all want to know that their information, such as personal information and credit card numbers, will not come into the hands of malicious parties, whether they are well-meaning organizations or cyber criminals.
Additionally, even on solely educational websites, visitors who explore the pages online are continually disclosing personal information by subscribing to newsletters, allowing cookies, and other less obvious methods of information disclosure. Given this circumstance, website owners must make effort to reassure their visitors and demonstrate that the pages are a secure environment to explore and conduct business.
This is where Digital Certificates, such as HTTPS, come into play. Its purpose is to make a website safer while also improving its speed. Converting your website to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) has several advantages. Here are a few reasons why you should consider switching:
- Security: HTTPS encrypts data sent between a user's browser and your website, protecting sensitive information like login passwords, personal information, and financial transactions from eavesdropping or alteration by hostile actors. This encryption makes it far more difficult for attackers to intercept or manipulate data being delivered.
- User Trust: HTTPS is generally known as a mark of trust and security on the internet. Visitors are more inclined to trust your website and provide their information if they see the padlock icon and "Secure" label in their browser's address bar. This is especially important if your website gathers sensitive information or conducts online transactions.
- SEO Benefits: HTTPS is seen as a ranking indication by search engines such as Google. Having an HTTPS website can help with search engine optimization (SEO), perhaps leading to improved search ranks and more visibility. Google is also known to post warnings on non-HTTPS sites, which may discourage people from accessing your site.
- Referrer Data: When a user navigates from an HTTPS website to an HTTP site, the referrer information (i.e., the website from which the user came) is not provided along by default. This implies that if your site is still utilizing HTTP, you may be unable to trace the source of your incoming traffic accurately. By upgrading to HTTPS, you keep the referral data, allowing you to properly monitor and enhance your marketing activities.
- Compliance Requirements: When handling sensitive data, several sectors and laws, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) for credit card information, require websites to utilize HTTPS. If your website is subject to any of these compliance requirements, migrating to HTTPS is required to achieve those standards.
Steps to upgrade your website to HTTPS
If your website is custom-made, it is safer to seek expert assistance in setting it up. If you're using WordPress, remember to first install the "Really Simple SSL" plugin and complete the instructions before continuing with the procedures below.
1. Go to the CloudFlare website and create an account: https://www.cloudflare.com/
2. Add the website you want to upgrade to HTTPS in CloudFlare, and CloudFlare will start scanning it.
3. Choose the free plan and continue.
4. Cloudflare will display the existing DNS settings for the website. If there are no omissions, click continue.
5. You will then see the NameServers provided by Cloudflare. Copy them and go to your Domain Control Panel (Here's a reminder, before switching to CloudFlare's version, remember to backup your original DNS. If any problems occur, simply change the Nameservers back to the original DNS to restore it. Always remember to backup before making any coding or setting changes)
6. In your Domain Control Panel, change the original NameServers to the ones provided by Cloudflare.
7. Save the changes and go back to the CloudFlare dashboard. It usually takes from ten minutes to 24 hours for the changes to take effect.
8. In the Cloudflare dashboard, you can check if the settings have taken effect. If it shows "Active," you can proceed to the next step.
9. Go to the Crypto section and set the SSL to "Flexible."
Under normal circumstances, the above steps should be sufficient to upgrade your website to HTTPS. However, if you encounter any problems or have any unclear parts during the process, it is still recommended to seek professional assistance.