The protection of user information is an important expectation for websites, which is why HTTPS connections are so heavily emphasized.
After all, they’re what keeps shared data private for all online users.
Since businesses and their consumers are becoming increasingly reliant on the internet, and data security is now more relevant than ever, no website can afford to leave themselves exposed to online attacks. HTTPS connections are more than just a safe practice, they’re necessary.
HTTPS for WordPress Websites
We love WordPress.
It’s great for building a website of any kind, though many WordPress websites don’t come protected with HTTPS connections when purchased. To ensure your WordPress website remains protected, there are a few steps that need to be taken first.
What is HTTPS
Before jumping in, let’s clear up the two key components that bring it together: HTTP and SSL.
HTTP stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol”, or the data connections that send information between a browser and a website. These kinds of connections are not protected, however, and are vulnerable to data theft.
SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”, or the cryptographic system that encrypts data and secures connections between browsers and websites. To enable a SSL system on a website, a SSL certificate needs to be acquired first.
When HTTP connections are protected with SSL, they become HTTPS data connections or “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure”. The result is a protected connection that defends the privacy of exchanged data, while also acting as authentication for websites.
When a user visits any website with a protected HTTPS connection, they’ll be able to find a green padlock icon that indicates there’s a secure website address. This visible proof makes HTTPS connections especially critical for Ecommerce websites that want to ensure the confidence of their customers.
See for Yourself: Look up at your browser while visiting this page and you’ll find the “Secure” icon.
Why HTTPS is Important for Website Security
We already mentioned data security is important, though we’ll let some of the numbers speak for themselves here.
Without a HTTPS connection enabled, websites are open to harmful attacks from hackers, phishing attempts, and other unwanted practices. The confidential information of your users—such as passwords, credit card information, and social security numbers—will be left undefended.
Obviously, this is something that no active website wants, and no online business can afford to risk. Especially when the global average cost of a data breach is USD 3.86 million, a number that’s rising year by year.
3 Steps to Install a SSL Certificate
1. Purchase a SSL Certificate
Some WordPress hosting services that will include SSL as part of their subscription. If yours doesn’t include one, SSL certificates are also available for purchase from third-party vendors.
A quick Google search will provide many choices. For example, some SSL certificates only protect one browser while others are available to defend multiple sites. Each certificate option comes with their own price ranges to browse between, so spend some time researching to find what provider would be best for your website.
2. Backup your Website to be Safe
Before making any large changes to the backend of your website, it’s a good idea to make a backup just in case.
This way, in the unfortunate case that something doesn’t go right, you’ll be able to safely restore your website to its previous unaffected state.
3. Install your SSL Certificate (via Host or Plugin)
Some web hosting providers will offer to install a purchased SSL certificate on your website. If that option is not available, it is also possible to manually install a SSL certificate, though that requires more hands-on knowledge and isn’t recommended for the inexperienced.
Thankfully, there are also plenty of WordPress plugins available that enable your SSL certificate for you. This is one of the more common methods of enabling HTTPS, and there are plenty of plugins that do it.