Encryption of the Internet seems the right way to go â€“ it gives more freedom for users, enabling them to browse without fear of getting hacked. It also becomes an influencing factor in search engine optimization. On June 29 Reddit moved towards HTTPS (SSL) from HTTP. Privacy has always been a major concern for users, and it isnâ€™t hackers alone who worry them, they are also concerned about the claims that the government is snooping on Internet activity.
Indeed it is the US government that has raised concerns against encryption, stating that criminals would be able to operate without being detected, and is now controversially wanting some kind of guaranteed access to all digital communications – a desire vehemently opposed by tech experts.
HTTPS Employed by Government and Social Media Platforms
Paradoxically, the government has also stated that all its websites would only operate through encrypted connections by 2016-end. It is a clear indication that the government believes in the need for greater security while ironically wanting to examine the Internet activity of others to keep track of criminal activity.
In fact, the Google network, Wikipedia as well as social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have all moved over to the HTTPS (SSL) protocol, though a majority of websites still use the HTTP unencrypted protocol. Thatâ€™s why digital rights activists are continuing to campaign for HTTPS browsing.
Things to Know Before You Choose the HTTPS Route
If youâ€™re deciding to head towards the HTTPS route, it is important you remember a few disadvantages, if you can call them that:
- The prize of the SSL certificate could vary, and the free SSL certificate available isnâ€™t good enough. The SSL implementation must be set up properly or there could be some files being served through HTTP and others through HTTPS. For the files served through HTTP, visitors could get a message telling them that not all the data is protected. This could affect the confidence of visitors and cause confusion.
- If your web server has a complicated proxy caching system, the encrypted content would not be cached. For this you would need another server for handling the encryption before the content getting to the caching service. This will cost more. SSL does not help in the case of real-time apps that are non-web. So there are modifications that need to be made.
These Could Make You Choose HTTPS
But the advantages seem to far outweigh the issues, and Google has also provided guidelines so that sites moving to HTTPS do not suffer traffic loss. The benefits for search engine optimization could be significant since Google has announced back in 2014 that the use of SSL by a server would be considered as a signal for ranking. Here are some of the other advantages:
- The most obvious advantage, and the whole purpose of HTTPS, is that it can safeguard data entered by your website visitors to keep it from being accessed by third parties.
- With HTTPS you receive an EV certificate which causes the green address bar to appear in the browser. This would instill trust and confidence in your visitors.
- An SSL certificate provides your visitors with a guarantee that you are what you claim to be, a genuine entity. The SSL also guarantees data integrity as it prevents intercepting and tampering of data.
Ultimately, summing it up, your website needs to move over to HTTPS since thatâ€™s the future. There is nothing like user trust.