Article

Tim Parfitt
Tim Parfitt 16 December 2016

Should I Switch To HTTPS?

From January 2017, as part of a drive to implement higher levels of security across the web, Google will commence a long-term plan to mark any site running on a HTTP connection, as opposed to HTTPS, as not-secure. So what does this mean for your website and should you migrate to HTTPS now?

The first phase of Google's roadmap will see it clearly labelling websites that collect passwords or credit card information through a non HTTPS connection as 'not-secure' within its Chrome browser.

While this should have little effect on your website in the short-term, over time this could have a negative effect on a user’s experience as well as raising doubts in their mind as to the level of trust they can extend to your brand. Negative implications for brand reputation are likely to deepen as Google extends HTTP warnings beyond collection of passwords or credit card details.

For now, what users will receive is a visual 'not-secure' alert in their address bar. Although subtle to begin with, this will become more obvious in subsequent Chrome releases. Eventually, Google plans to label all HTTP pages as not-secure, and change the HTTP security indicator to the red triangle that it uses for broken HTTPS. More detail can be found on Google's Security Blog.

Google is also using security through the setup of HTTPS as a ranking signal in search engines, which while in the words of Google is only a ‘very lightweight signal’ they may over time decide to strength it. Using HTTPS across your website is generally viewed by Google as a positive factor and may provide a ranking boost.

So does this mean you should migrate to HTTPS right away?

According to Google, a substantial portion of web traffic has transitioned to HTTPS so far, and HTTPS usage is consistently increasing. More than half of Chrome desktop page loads are now served over HTTPS. In addition, since the time Google released its HTTPS report in February 2016, 12 more of the top 100 websites have changed their serving default from HTTP to HTTPS. It's clear that in the long-term, HTTPS is the way the web is going.

However, this doesn't automatically mean that it's the right time to migrate your site to HTTPS. Challenges involved in site migration have inhibited HTTPS adoption for several years and although it is now easier to migrate than ever before, there are still potential pitfalls to be aware of, such as a potential negative impact on SEO performance and ranking, as well as ad performance and revenue during large site migrations. However, checks and balances can be implemented to safeguard performance throughout the migration process.

Migrating for security reasons makes a lot of sense but be prepared to follow, what for large websites can be a lengthy process, to ensure full site compliance. It is also crucial to ensure that your servers can deal with the change.  HTTPS encrypts all the communications between your browser and the web server which requires additional steps to HTTP. This can lengthen the time it takes for data to be sent and received, so you need to ensure that your servers can handle these additional steps without undue lag. After all, site speed currently impacts ranking far more significantly than HTTPS.

Nevertheless, much work has been done around improving how HTTPS works at the server level and most current technology should be more than capable of processing the extra workload.

In Google's view the additional benefits to setting up HTTPS can outweigh any potential negative impact. These include the best performance the web offers and powerful features that benefit site conversions, including both new features such as service workers for offline support, web push notifications, and existing features such as credit card autofill and the HTML5 geolocation API that are too powerful to be used over non-secure HTTP.

For a comparison of HTTP and HTTPS page load times head to http://www.httpvshttps.com

Google’s advice is to act now before further changes are rolled out. Our advice would be to consider your options carefully and think about what you need to do to prepare for a migration to HTTPS somewhere down the line.

To help understand how Google’s change in policy could affect you and to put plans in place now to avoid any possible negative impacts, contact Netcel on 01727 736020 to talk through your options

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, which provides incredible benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. And if you are not applying this profitable...

Sharron Nelson
Sharron Nelson 6 February 2018
Read more
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Although the trend of a Business to Business portal is not new but the evolution of technology has indeed changed the way they function. Additional digital trading features and branding has taken the place of...

Salman Sharif
Salman Sharif 7 July 2017
Read more
What Marketing Content Do Different Age Groups like to Consume?

What Marketing Content Do Different Age Groups like to Consume?

Today marketers have a wide choice of different content types to create; from video to blogs, from memes to whitepapers. But which types of content are most suitable for different age groups?

Lisa Curry
Lisa Curry 21 October 2016
Read more
Collection Of The Best Email Testing Tools Online

Collection Of The Best Email Testing Tools Online

Don’t be afraid of email testing. There are many free or freemium tools online that can help you with testing your SPAM score, deliverability and even the rendering of your email. We feature 30 email testing tools in...

Roland Pokornyik
Roland Pokornyik 31 October 2016
Read more