How to enable HTTPS on your domain

In recent years, there has been more emphasis on internet security. One of the most important things you can do to secure your website is to enable HTTPS.

With Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), all communication between your website and visitors will be encrypted. This is important because it prevents third parties from intercepting the data sent or received.

In this article, we’ll show you how to enable HTTPS on your domain. But first, let’s talk about why HTTPS is so important.

What is HTTPS and why is it used?

HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, which is the protocol used to transfer data between a web server and a browser. HTTPS encrypts data with Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) before it is transmitted, making it much more difficult for anyone to intercept and read. This is why HTTPS is often used for sites that require a high level of security, such as online banking or e-commerce platforms (opens in a new tab).

When you visit a website, two components are usually involved: the client (which in this case would be your web browser) and the server (where the website is hosted). The communication between these two components is what allows you to view the website.

Traditionally, this communication was done using HTTP, which stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. However, HTTP is not as secure because it does not encrypt data sent between client and server. This means that if there is a man-in-the-middle attack, i.e. when a third party intercepts the communication between two parties in order to steal data, the data exchanged can be stolen.

HTTPS was created to solve this problem. When you enable HTTPS on your website, it means that all communication between client and server will be encrypted. This makes it much more difficult for third parties to intercept transmitted data and helps protect the privacy of your website visitors.

Another reason why HTTPS is so important is that Google strongly recommends (opens in a new tab) websites that use HTTPS over those that don’t. This means that if you want your website to rank higher in search results, you need to enable HTTPS.

How to enable HTTPS on your domain

buy one SSL certificate (opens in a new tab). In order to enable HTTPS on your website, you must first purchase a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate from a reputable Certificate Authority (CA). This will allow your site to establish a secure connection with web browsers. Once you have purchased your SSL certificate, you will need to install it on your server.

Configure your server to use the new SSL certificate. Once you have installed your SSL certificate on your server, you will need to configure your web server software to use the new certificate. This usually involves modifying the server configuration file to specify the location of the new certificate and private key file.

Update your website’s internal links. Once you have enabled HTTPS on your server, you will need to update all internal links on your website that point to HTTP pages. This includes links in the body of your website pages as well as any links in your sitemap file. If these links are not updated, visitors will be redirected to an HTTP version of the page, which could cause their web browser to display security warnings.

Update external links pointing to your website. In addition to updating internal links, you will also need to update any external links pointing to HTTP pages on your website. This includes social media links, banner ads, and email signatures that link to your website. Again, if these links are not updated, visitors might be redirected to an insecure HTTP page.

Once you’ve completed all the steps above, it’s time to move on to the most important step of all: testing. Try accessing both the HTTP and HTTPS versions of your website to make sure everything is working as it should. Pay close attention to any forms or other data collection elements on your website; if these do not work properly over HTTPS, sensitive user information could be compromised.

A padlock icon and the text HTTPS at the start of a URL

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

How do I enable HTTPS on my server?

Buy an SSL certificate. You can do this through a number of different Certificate Authorities (CAs), such as Symantec (opens in a new tab), Comodo (opens in a new tab)Where come on daddy (opens in a new tab).

Install the certificate on your web server. This usually involves generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) and then installing the provided files in the correct location on your server.

Configure your server to use the new certificate. Depending on your server type and operating system, this step will vary. For Apache servers on Linux, for example, you will need to modify the site configuration file to point to the new certificate and key files.

Update your website code to use HTTPS for all requests. If you use relative URLs, be sure to update them to use the https:// protocol instead of http://.

You should also set any cookies you use to be secure. Once all these steps have been completed, your site will be accessible in HTTPS and all data transmitted between your server and visitors web browsers (opens in a new tab) will be securely encrypted.

What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. It is the standard protocol for transferring data between a web server and a web browser. When you visit a website, your web browser sends an HTTP request to the server hosting the website. The server then responds by returning the requested data, which is displayed in your web browser.

HTTP is an insecure protocol, which means that data transferred via HTTP can be intercepted by third parties. This allows someone to listen to your browsing activity or even inject malicious code into the website you are visiting.

HTTPS, on the other hand, stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It is an enhanced version of HTTP that uses SSL/TLS encryption to protect data in transit. SSL/TLS encryption is a process that encodes data so that it can only be decoded by the intended recipient. This makes it much more difficult for third parties to intercept and read data transmitted over HTTPS.

In addition to encryption (opens in a new tab), HTTPS also provides authentication. This means you can be sure that the website you are visiting is the website it claims to be. With HTTP, it is possible for someone to create a fake website that looks like a real website and redirects traffic meant for the real website to the fake one. This type of attack is known as a man-in-the-middle attack and can be used to steal sensitive information such as login credentials and credit card numbers.

Why you should use HTTPS

1. Improved Security

The main reason to use HTTPS is to improve security. When data is transferred over an unsecured HTTP connection, it is possible for third parties to intercept and view this data. This can include everything from login credentials to credit card information. By using HTTPS, this data is encrypted and much less likely to be compromised.

2. Better search engine rankings

Another reason to use HTTPS is that it can positively impact your search engine rankings. Google said they give preference to websites that use HTTPS, so if you don’t use it, you might be at a disadvantage.

3. Increased credibility

Using HTTPS also gives your website an air of credibility and reliability. Visitors will see that you are using the latest and greatest technology to protect their information, which could lead to more sales or conversions.