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Have you ever seen https:// in a url, understood it meant the website was secure, but thought your website didn’t need it?  Well, that’s all changing.

Secure https domain on Brave Whale

Last year Google announced they would begin giving websites with HTTPS a priority over websites with HTTP.  With this intention to further secure the privacy of users all around the web, we’re going to start seeing even more importants placed on HTTPS enabled websites.  This means if your website has an SSL certificate installed, and is forcing HTTPS across all pages, you could see a bump in your search ranking. However, it’s still likely that even sites without HTTPS won’t be affected in rank.  Google has been clear that their effort to promote HTTPS websites is moving forward, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see strict requirements in the future.

The good news for those without HTTPS is that most web hosting companies now offer free SSL through a service called Let’s Encrypt. Free! I recommend anyone without an SSL certificate to ask their web host about a free certificate and install it as soon as possible.

How to get free SSL and secure your WordPress website

Your web host is the first defense in WordPress security.  It’s critical you host your website on a good server from a reputable web host.

I use, and highly recommend, SiteGround for basic WordPress sites and Cloudways for larger sites or developers.  Both of these hosts offer free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, so this is a no-brainer.

Now that you’re securing access to your website, you need to maintain regular updates to all your WordPress plugins, themes, and core files. This is also critical in securing your website, and making sure you don’t get hacked.   Of course, WordPress security and support is a service I personally provide.  Both hosting and maintenance go hand in hand, and will ensure you’re on the right path to a long and health presence online.

What are your thoughts on Google’s HTTPS effort or how it affects your WordPress site?

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