WordPress and https / ssl compliance

Did you know that there is a significant Google development playing out as we speak? It’s a new protocol that we feel we have a responsibility to tell our WordPress clients about. As highly experienced web designers and WordPress developers, we take Google ranking developments seriously. We’re currently busy making sure all of our WordPress sites have SSL certificates so they can take advantage of the new protocol. The padlock protocol will have significant implications for our client’s WordPress websites and – by extension – their businesses. So what is SSL / HTTPS and what should you do next?

Google’s new padlock protocol means safer, more secure browsing

Google are busy actively promoting safe and secure browsing across the entire web, as they did back in 2015 with mobile-friendly compliance. To deliver the safest search experience they want every website to run over a secure https connection – like your online bank.

In practice, to take advantage you need a valid SSL certificate in place. This tells Google that you’ve safely encrypted the connection to your website. Your broswer will then display a Google padlock in your browser window.

What does HTTPS / SSL compliance actually mean?

To encourage website owners to join in, Google has announced https is now a ranking factor. This means that is will now promote quality websites running on a https connection. This means sites without a valid SSL certificate will slowly be relegated down Google’s search results. Eventually, ‘insecure’ sites will be labelled as ‘unsafe’, the last thing a business needs in such a competitive landscape.

As you can imagine it’s always best to keep on the good side of the search engine giant. We strongly recommend people comply with the new protocol and get valid SSL certificates on their websites. It’ll deliver a distinct marketing advantage.

The added benefit of HTTP/2?

Amazingly, HTTP/2 is the first significant HTTP protocol update since 1997. HTTP/2 is now part of every major, modern browser. HTTP/2 will make the web run faster because you don’t need to make single connections to every linked file. They all go over in one go. You can only take advantage of when you’re on HTTPS / SSL and your site is already secure. Google have written a short introduction outlining the significance of HTTP/2.

All the major browsers support HTTP/2. Your hosting company may have to change the configuration of the server you’re on to make sure it supports HTTP/2. While some older browsers might not be capable of using it, your site will still work via them. You can also test your WordPress site’s readiness for HTTP/2 with this handy free test

The upshot of it all is this: if it’s possible to use HTTP/2 it’s a very good idea indeed to do so. It’s a whole lot faster than old-school HTTP. As long as it’s properly set up your visitors will feel the benefit. HTTPS / SSL compliance, in turn, should give a handy little boost to your bottom line. But, you need a valid SSL certificate to take advantage of any of theseHTTPS / SSL speeds boosts.

Making sure your website is compliant

On the down side, making a site compliant is actually a pretty fiddly and detailed job. The process involves checking the code of every website page to make sure it complies with the new certificate. It also means making sure Google knows about the changes you’ve made. On the bright side, we know exactly how to make sure all our WordPress websites are moved onto a secure connection. It takes time and effort to ensure a website is correctly configured and set up the new SSL certificate, but we think it’s absolutely vital.

If your WordPress developers have not yet mentioned HTTPS / SSL compliance to you, you might want to think about contacting them. Or finding a WordPress and web design so you partner closely with. A team who act as soon as news like this surfaces, making sure their clients are fully aware.

You can wait and see if you like. But we’re fully confident we’ll see lots of WordPress websites with valid padlocks in place through 2017. And it’s likely they’ll include at least some of your competitors! From now on every WordPress site we build will be compliant, keeping our clients ahead of the curve. What about you? If that all sounds a little bit daunting, then Yoast leads the way in terms of SSL and SEO guides. And we’re always happy to talk about how we can help make your WordPress site HTTPS / SSL compliant.