Unpacking the Importance of HTTPS in Website Security
When it comes to the protection of user information and sensitive data, one important protocol to keep in mind is the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which guarantees website encryption. It ensures that any information being shared between a browser and your website is encrypted, thereby making it difficult for cyber threats and hackers to gain access to it.
Why is HTTPS Important?
There are several reasons why HTTPS is important:
HTTPS encrypts data exchanged between the user’s browser and your website, making it difficult for a third party to intercept and decode any information. This is particularly important for sensitive data, like payment information, login credentials, and personal information.
Improved Website Trust
HTTPS is a standard for all websites that solicit user data. Visitors expect that websites they visit use HTTPS for secure data exchange. Also, Google acknowledges secure websites, thereby establishing the trust of users.
Google considers HTTPS as a ranking signal. Therefore, websites with HTTPS enabled have increased chances of ranking higher in search engines. However, sites without HTTPS enabled will display a ‘not secure’ message, deterring users from visiting your website.
Some regions and countries require websites handling specific types of data, like health information, payment information, or information protected under GDPR, to use HTTPS.
How to Enable HTTPS on Your WordPress Website
Now that you know the importance of HTTPS, how do you enable it on your WordPress website? Here are the steps:
Step 1: Obtain a SSL/TLS Certificate
The SSL/TLS certificate is the first step to enabling HTTPS. Some hosting services offer free SSL/TLS certificates, while others require you to purchase them from a trusted authority like GoDaddy or DigiCert.
Step 2: Install the SSL/TLS Certificate
After obtaining the SSL/TLS certificate, you will need to install it on your website. The process varies depending on your hosting provider. While some hosting providers will install the certificate for you, others require you to do it yourself. Contact your hosting provider’s technical support if you are unsure.
Step 3: Update Your WordPress Settings
Update your WordPress settings to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. Update the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) fields to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. Click the save button at the bottom to save changes.
Step 4: Updating Internal Links
Update internal links on your website to use HTTPS instead of HTTP to ensure all content is being served over the secure protocol. This will also prevent mixed content warnings from browsers.
Step 5: Enable HTTP to HTTPS Redirect
Use the Really Simple SSL plugin to ensure that all traffic to your website is automatically redirected from HTTP to HTTPS.
Common Issues and Troubleshooting
After enabling HTTPS, here are common issues that could arise:
Mixed Content Warning
A mixed content warning appears when you have both HTTP and HTTPS content on your website. Use a search and replace tool like Better Search Replace to replace HTTP links with HTTPS.
Insecure Content Warning
This warning notifies you when an image or other source on your page is not using HTTPS. You can update the links or use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like Cloudflare to automatically serve images over HTTPS.
The Website is Not Accessible
If your website becomes inaccessible after enabling HTTPS, there could be an issue with the SSL/TLS certificate. Check to make sure that the certificate is installed correctly and that WordPress is set to use HTTPS.
In conclusion, enabling HTTPS on your WordPress website is essential for protecting user information and ensuring website security. Following the steps mentioned above can make it easier for you. If you face any difficulties, reach out to your hosting provider or a WordPress developer for assistance.