Learn to get an SSL Certificate and Implement HTTPS to your Website in 10 Minutes (Part 2 of 2)
In the first part of this blog post, we talked about the importance of HTTPS for businesses and how this application protocol helps them secure their websites and sensitive data. The previous post was not only designed to provide users with the information about SSL or TLS certificate, but also to assist them in identifying the elements that function as the intellectual protectants in the layer. This includes a cipher suite, unique keys, encryption, etc. With all of these being expounded clearly, we also mentioned different types of SSL/TLS certificate and explained how a business can get one for their website that best suits their needs.
Now, in the following blog post, we will start with the HTTPS certificates for finding out which one you need to authenticate the identity of your website/business as well as ensure data integrity throughout its lifecycle so your critical information (Client, Financial, or Personal) must not be modified, stolen, or corrupted during the transition. And then you will learn to implement this security protocol on your website and about its significant benefits that no one should ignore at any cost. So let’s get down to encryption again (Pun indeed! Well, seriously to authentication too!
An insightful comparison between SSL certificate types:
Since online users are all pretty knowledgeable and unconditionally security-savvy these days, companies need to communicate a secure, high line of trust to their clientele and visitors across the internet. And that’s where an HTTPS certificate comes into the picture. Obtaining a high-assurance SSL/TLS certificate, also known as a digital signature, is critical to:
✓ Secure interactions between a browser and server;
✓ Protect communication between two servers;
✓ Concede with legislative and standard industry requirements, such as PCI DSS, regarding authentication and protection;
✓ Shield exchange services, like email servers, to safeguard sensitive data
✓ Ensure the integrity of transmitted data between network points.
DV – Domain Validated SSL Certificates
Also termed as a low assurance certificate, it is a standard and automated solution to authenticate that the domain matches the entity or SSL applicant registered on its WHOIS entry. DV certificates are the least costly as well as fastest to obtain since verification process requires the exchange of the confirmation email between the CA organization and the owner of the domain or configuration of a DNS record for the website. This digital certificate establishes a secure HTTPS connection displaying the green padlock icon in the URL window but doesn’t offer any company or ownership information. According to vendors, DV SSL certificate is mainly intended for the info-based websites, general blogs, and small businesses.
OV – Organization Validated SSL Certificates
Also known as high assurance certificate, it involves the validation of domain ownership, legitimate organization behind a website, such as a name, city, state, organizational unit, and country, as well as the confirmation of any online government databases. This process necessitates additional documentation for authentication and is slightly more expensive than DV certificates, but offers an extra layer of security and confidence to their users, thereby assuring the company is reputable. Similar to the DV certificate, the search engine displays a gray or green lock sign and text either “HTTPS or Secure” inside the address bar indicating that the particular business or website underwent rigorous validation process. OV is the best-suited certificate type for medium-volume e-commerce stores and other medium-sized businesses.
EV – Extended Validation SSL Certificates
Among DV, OV, and EV SSL certificates, this one is the slowest and most expensive solution to obtain. The reason is that it needs the maximum amount of identity validation effort by the CA to authenticate not only the domain ownership and the tenure of the organization but also the legal documents, physical existence, operational existence with bank records, and other vital information.
It involves a thorough validation process to ensure that the company is legitimate registered and currently operative. If a website is EV compliance, the browser will show company name and location inside the address bar itself either in the grey (Google Chrome) or green (others search engines) color, along with a tiny padlock symbol.
Here are some reasons to purchase EV certificate for your business:
a. Boosting transaction conversion rates;
b. Reducing shopping cart abandonment;
c. Providing customers with the optimum level of security;
d. Setting your business apart from your competitors; and
e. Protecting your website from cybercriminals, phishing schemes, and other security breaches
What are the Benefits of Using the HTTPS Protocol?
This question is, most likely, the reason you’re here for – to figure out how exactly Google’s HTTPS is making the web a safe and sound place. Below we’ve summed up the four significant benefits that will surely compel you to use advanced, secure protocol ‘HTTPS’ instead of the old, plain HTTP.
1. Improved SEO and Google Ranking
During the announcement, Google also stated that the presence of HTTPS alone, adding an SSL 2048-bit key certificate, on your website will guarantee a minor ranking boost by default. Google calls this small ranking benefit as a ‘very lightweight signal,’ which plays an essential role in the battle of top search ranking. It gives the upper hand to the HTTPS-enabled websites, even with a slight margin, over their competitors who are still stuck with HTTP.
With that being said, however, this protocol is not a silver bullet that can rank a website for a user’s query and dramatically trump the other winning results as Google’s algorithm takes into account multiple crucial signals, such as high-quality content.
By combining the effectiveness of high-authority backlinks, long-tail keywords, optimized domains, and other algorithm values with this migration update, businesses can funnel traffic to their site, reach millions of searchers just with a single click, and deliver an impeccable user experience.
2. Increased Security
HTTPS uses SSL/TLS layer to establish a secure and concrete connection, as we have already explained in the first part – read here, between a server and a client through a cipher suite and PKI system. In this manner, every bit of information can only be encrypted and decrypted with specific keys (private and public), which means only the final recipient will be able to view and decipher the data. Since the SSL/TLS certificate uses the sturdiest encryption and provides users with a private connection on a page whenever they need to give out their personal information, it successfully encodes the content of the request-response and keeps the transferred data safe from prying eyes.
3. Enhanced Performance through HTTP/2
From creating a robust, secure interaction path between browsers and servers to displaying web pages, it’s self-evident that the HTTP protocol is the underlying essence of the entire internet world, whether it’s a distributed, hypermedia information, or collaborative system. In 2015, the HTTP/1.x protocol was gradually replaced by and also integrated into HTTP/2 to shape and boost traffic as well as optimize the flow of request-response time and data between a client and a server.
How the HTTP/2 protocol is precisely linked with HTTPS and website performance, you might ask?
Well, here’s the deal – according to a performance breakdown, both Load Impact and Mozilla reported that servers manipulate and optimize speed, content, connection, and performance by 50 to 70 percent better over HTTP/2 compared to HTTP/1.x protocol, during an HTTP session with the browser. But one significant fact is that HTTP/2 requires HTTPS protocol to make requests parallelized, smaller, and better organized.
4. Built Trust and Brand Awareness
There’s no denying that one fundamental truth of e-commerce is that shoppers purchase only from businesses or brands they can trust most. However, with millions of email-related swindles, phishing scams, and other security threats happening daily, users now have commenced taking note of the miniature yet security icon “Padlock” (either grey or green) in the address bar as a symbol of trustworthiness of e-sellers.
Fact Time: A survey report by Certificate Authority Security Council shows that only three percent of online shoppers are willing to enter their credit card credentials on sites without the padlock icon and just two percent ignore the ‘untrusted connection’ messages.
The most effective and straightforward approach to establishing brand awareness, as well as the trust between you and your would-be buyers, is acquiring the HTTPS certificate for your business. This HTTPS lock sign provides users with a higher degree of guarantee and protection, so they differentiate fake websites and scams from the real, genuine ones and also don’t end up taking the bait from sly criminals! Furthermore, HTTPS-enabled sites and pages comprising any text inputs like sign up forms or debit/credit card data field automatically prevent users from performing any operations on pages or at least warn them if there’s something suspicious with the site or it’s not secure.
So when you shop online for this Christmas, look carefully at the text ‘HTTPS/Secure’ and the lock icon, therefore, you won’t end up getting a large chunk of coal rather than an actual present.
13 One-Line Tips to Migrate from HTTP to HTTPS
1) Kick things off with a test server and then crawl your current website.
2) Make sure to read all the documentation regarding your CDN or server for HTTPS to address and eliminate CDN issues.
3) Get an SSL/TLS website security certificate (either free or paid) from a renowned CA organization and activate it from your server or hosting account.
4) Replace all hard-coded (HTTP) links with HTTPS.
5) Update canonical and hreflang tags as well as references in content and templates.
6) Update any modules, extensions, AJAX libraries, plugins, or add-ons to make sure that your website doesn’t contain insecure content and also to check whether the internal site search, forms, and other attributes are working immaculately.
7) Force HTTPS protocol with redirects and also update old redirects if there’s any.
8) Crawl your site and old URLs for any missing links and broken redirects.
9) Update your robots.txt file to add new sitemap URLs and then update those sitemaps to utilize HTTPS versions lined with the URLs.
10) Enable both HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) and Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) stapling.
11) Add HTTP/2 support and then integrate the HTTPS version of your website to all the browsers.
12) Update URL parameter settings and the disavow file if you have any.
13) Lastly, update any automated email or marketing campaigns, social share counts, and any other tools including heatmaps and A/B testing software.
Now, your website is ready to go live and rank!!