Why It’s Important to Switch Your Joomla Website from HTTP to HTTPS

Back in 2013, we have debunked the myth that switching from HTTP to HTTPS will make a Joomla website more secure, and we have explicitly recommended against using it globally. Obviously, times are different now, and while we still haven’t changed our mind that such as switch will not make a Joomla website more secure, we can no longer recommending against it. Why?

Well, because of the following reasons:

  • As of August 2014, Google considers the usage of HTTPS across the board as a minor positive ranking signal. In other words, using HTTPS on your website (the whole of your website) will give its search engine rankings a minor lift.
  • As of January 2017, Google Chrome, the world’s most used browser (in fact, at the time of writing this article, Google Chrome has more market share than all of the other browsers combined), has started displaying a “Not secure” message in the address bar when people visit a page that has a form transmitting sensitive data. So, for example, if every page on your Joomla website has a login module, then Chrome users will see that “Not secure” message on every page of your website. Not good.

  • At around the same time (January 2017), FireFox, the world’s third browser by market share, started displaying a lock with a diagonal red line to label a website matching the same criteria defined by Google Chrome as non-secure.

Unless you are sure that all of your site visitors use Bing as their search engine and Internet Explorer/Microsoft Edge as their browser (Microsoft hasn’t followed suit yet), then you must do something about it, or else your rankings will suffer considerably. Why, you may ask? Well, because when some (if not most) people see that “Not secure” message on their browser when visiting one of your pages, then they will flee your website. This will substantially increase your bounce rate, which will severely affect your search engine rankings. Yes, you’re right, the labeling used by Chrome and FireFox is inaccurate (only the data transmission is not secure, and not the whole website), but only the technical people will understand that.

So, our dear reader, if you are experiencing a higher-than-usual bounce rate on your Joomla website and you have a login form slapped on all of your pages, then the likely cause is that your website is not running in secure (HTTPS) mode, when it should. If you need help with making the switch from HTTP to HTTPS, then you are in no better place: just contact us and we’ll handle this for you quickly, efficiently, and affordably.

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