Should you use HTTP or HTTPS?
All business websites can benefit from HTTPS because it improves site security for the user and business while boosting SEO and credibility. However, HTTPS isn't always necessary.
For instance, if your website visitors don't share their personal information with your website's server, HTTP is optional. However, since many browsers warn users of unsecured websites, upgrading to HTTPS by purchasing an SSL certificate is worth it.
Knowing how search engines affect your website can help you compare HTTP vs. HTTPS. HTTPS is generally better for SEO because it provides site security and can help you track referral data in Google Analytics. If your website uses HTTP instead of HTTPS, your referral traffic may not be appropriately attributed. In addition, HTTPS offers faster load speeds, which is an important ranking factor on Google.
There are some instances when you might use both HTTP and HTTPS by loading parts of your website over HTTPS and others over HTTP for a "mixed content" approach. With mixed content, the browser request is transmitted over HTTPS, making the communication between the browser and server secure, with some aspects being unsecured.
Unfortunately, browsers may warn users that you use mixed content, which can deter them from continuing to your website.
Switching from HTTP to HTTPS
Generally speaking, HTTPS is always better than HTTP because it provides enhanced security. Luckily, switching from HTTP to HTTPS is easy for any business website; just follow these simple steps:
While it may seem like a small matter, switching from HTTP to HTTPS should be scheduled to ensure your development team knows. There may be some downtime involved, so it's usually better to do it when your website has less traffic, like at night or early morning hours.
Purchase an SSL certificate
You can purchase an SSL certificate from several different services. Your website host may allow you to buy an SSL certificate directly from them, or you can find a third-party vendor.
Various types of SSL certificates are available, and the one you need will depend on the level of security you want. Most small business websites use domain-validated (DV) SSL certificates because they're easy to obtain, while extended validation (EV) SSLs have strict requirements for websites.
Migrate to HTTPS
After purchasing and installing your SSL certificate, you can begin the migration to HTTPS. Migrating can be a complex process, depending on the size of your website. If you purchased your certificate from your web host, they might handle the process for you.
Once you've migrated, your website pages should load the HTTPS versions instead of HTTP. You can check it by visiting any page on your website to ensure the migration was a success.
After the migration is complete, you should create 301 redirects to redirect servers to your new protocol. This is a crucial step because they tell search engines that your website has changed and pages should be indexed
under HTTPS instead of HTTP.
Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS after purchasing your SSL certificate can be challenging, and if you don't do everything correctly, it can impact your website performance. You must take all the steps outlined above to maintain website traffic.
For instance, if you don't create redirects, search engines won't realize that your website pages have changed. Your domain extension and second-level domain haven't changed, but your protocol has. Web crawlers and your customers must end up on the correct HTTPS version of a web page. Failing to properly redirect URLs can result in lower SEO rankings and website traffic.
Additionally, you'll need to make sure your certificate doesn't expire. If it expires, your website won't be secure, and you'll need to purchase a new one as soon as possible, which may require you to repeat the process outlined above.
Offer a secure website connection
HTTPS offers better security to protect your customers' sensitive information, and it's becoming the standard protocol for websites. If your website isn't secure, browsers will warn your visitors, which can cause them to leave the page and never return. Not using HTTPS can also hurt your search engine rankings and overall site performance.
Mailchimp makes it easy to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. When you purchase a domain, we'll include a free SSL certificate to ensure your site's security. Build your business website with Mailchimp today.