If your brand is concerned with protecting customer data and preventing things like phishing attacks, it’s likely that your website has set up SSL certification – or is at least considering making the move. In recent years, web security has become a big priority for the likes of Google and the internet giant has even gone as far as to say that having a secure website will benefit brand’s rankings in its search engine – a sure sign that it is taking security seriously.
If your business is already on top of security, read on to find out about what else you can do to take your HTTPS to the next level and make all your communications secure for your customers. If you haven’t reached a point where you have set up HTTPS for your main website, reading on may scare you into action!
What are SSL and HTTPS?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It sounds horrifically complicated, but to put it simply an SSL certificate provides secure, encrypted communications between a website and an internet browser. SSL is the standard security technology that establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. It makes an internet connection secure and keeps data private as it travels across the internet between a website and a browser.
It does this by making sure any information transferred between a user and a website is encrypted when in transit, so only the intended recipient can read it. This stops outside parties from accessing or changing the information being transferred, so hackers, identity thieves, and other criminals are left out of luck.
When an SSL certificate is installed on a web server, it will change the application protocol – or HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) – to HTTPS. The letter S stands for secure. In Google Chrome, a padlock will also appear. This lets users know that the website is secure.
Google prefers websites with SSL certification and makes it very obvious when a website isn’t secure. As of October, Google announced that browsers will display a warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page. It is thought that there will be further steps to encourage HTTPS in the future, so it’s best to upgrade and secure all your web pages and links now.
Why is it important to have HTTPS custom short URLs?
Normally, SSL certificates are installed on pages that require end-users to submit sensitive information, like personal details, passwords or credit card details. But it’s become more prevalent across the web.
You’ll often notice the little ‘S’ popping up in your browser when clicking through social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter. And, as we already mentioned, Google has shown favor for websites with SSL certification. So why is it important to make sure all your links are secure as well?
Even if they don’t handle particularly sensitive communications, we are moving toward an HTTPS-only web. HTTPS has become a requirement for many new browser features.
If your website has an SSL certificate, all the links you share should too. This way you can ensure that your browser never exits a context of confidentiality while navigating to your website.
If you use HTTP short links, your link’s traffic can be monitored by third parties and they will get information about which short links are being visited. And if you’re linking to destinations, like Google Docs or public Dropbox folders that could include confidential information or identifying information like usernames, you’re better off using a secure HTTPS link. This will avoid any important information getting into the wrong hands or the de-anonymization of your visitors.
Other benefits of sharing secure links
SSL is essential for protecting your links, and even if they don’t contain sensitive information, it provides users with privacy and allows them to place trust in your brand.
If you want people to click through to your website, using HTTPS URLs will give them peace of mind and let them know from the outset that your online business is a one that can be trusted.
This is particularly important if you want visitors to make payments or purchases on your website. And the way HTTPS is becoming the norm today, many people would just expect professional links to be shared with HTTPS. The more trust you can build, the better.
Sharing HTTPS links is also particularly useful if you are publishing a link on a Secure SSL page. If you use insecure links on one of your secure web pages and content is loaded from a non-HTTPS, your web browser will warn that there is some page content that is not secure. Web privacy browser extensions will also kick up a fuss too.
How can I get secure HTTPS URLs?
Do you want to share short links with SSL encryption? With most URL shorteners, this isn’t possible. Most generic URL shorteners don’t provide an SSL certificate for your short links, which may make people reluctant to click on them. As well as not indicating to users what the link might be leading to, it also doesn’t let them know that the server they are going to is safe.
Goo.gl does provide secure short links – which comes as no surprise since they’ve been showing so much preferential treatment for secure web pages. [UPDATE – April 24, 2018: Please note that the Goo.gl service is currently in the process of winding down.] However, if you use branded links, Rebrandly also offers the certification, because we know how important data protection is. Branded links already increase link trust and click-through rates by up to 39%. Having HTTPS on your branded short links will add to this trust even more.
So what do you have to do to get branded HTTPS short links? This feature is now included in all our paid subscriptions. When you create custom short URLs using Https://, the traffic to your content will automatically be encrypted. There’s no configuration needed, we’ll handle it all for you. And if you’d prefer to use your own SSL certificate, get in touch with us and we can organize custom setup too.