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Is your website on HTTPS and HTTP/2? Here’s why it should be.

October 17, 2016

PRR’s website is on HTTPS and HTTP/2, this is why:

Our creative studio’s web team is always looking for ways to innovate, use new technologies, and improve the user experience. Part of this is keeping on top of the latest web trends, but just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it should be immediately accepted. But one trend we are embracing wholeheartedly is the “HTTPS everywhere” movement. HTTPS offers a superior web experience through three main advantages: security, speed and SEO.

Security

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (or HTTPS) over SSL/TLS is used for securing communications over the internet and prevents hackers from intercepting data your browser is receiving or sending. This is accomplished with two tools, encryption and authentication.

  • HTTPS encrypts your data so that it can only be understood by the certified server. Intercepted information cannot be read and becomes meaningless—you must have the right decoder ring!
  • HTTPS also authenticates that the website is truly the website it is claiming to be before the server submits the unencrypted information (like a background check). This is important as it ensures data is not intercepted by hackers or a third party.

If you have worked with PRR’s Creative Studio on a web project you’ve heard this already: for the best security, users should upgrade to the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari browsers. Check out Google’s What Browser tool to find out what browser you are using and update to the newest version.

Speed
HTTP/1.1 vs HTTP/2. Source: maxcdn.com
One reason we are so excited about HTTPS is that it features the new HTTP/2 protocol. Why is this a big deal? In a word: speed. The new protocol allows our web team to better balance great design, requests for more high-resolution photography, and more features while still having a fast site that provides an excellent user experience.

Striking a balance between giving the user a great experience and delivering it fast has become an art form. To do this, developers have learned a variety of techniques to compress and combine resources which reduce the number of requests as well as the bandwidth required to load web pages. But at the end of the day these optimizations can only go so far, and a change to the underlying technology is required.

This is where HTTP/2 comes in. The HTTP/2 protocol, which is only available over an HTTPS encrypted connection, is able to speed up the delivery of resources making creating fast websites easier.

  • HTTP/2 is approximately 50% faster than HTTP/1.1, allowing for quicker load time of web pages. Check out this HTTP/1.1 vs HTTP/2 test or this test.
  • While the old protocol used a request-response model where the browser fetches one resource at a time from the web server, HTTP/2 can fetch multiple resources over a single connection simultaneously, called multiplexing. This means a faster loading site for your users.
  • The new protocol also offers server push benefits which can push resources to the client proactively. In layman’s terms it responds to your requests AND to requests that haven’t been made yet but will soon need to be made, ensuring maximum efficiency and speed. HTTP/2, in essence, is clairvoyant.
  • Test if your website supports HTTP/2 using KeyCDN’s tool.

SEO

If the performance, loading, and security benefits of HTTPS were not enough for you, we have one more. Using HTTPS on your site will improve your SEO. Google Search started using HTTPS as a ranking signal back in 2014. Furthermore, getting SSL certificates is cheaper and easier than ever. You can easily purchase a certificate through your hosting provider or Comodo, or use tools and services like Let’s Encrypt or Cloudflare, making the barriers to using HTTPS much lower than they used to be.

Website security should be taken seriously and is a top priority for PRR and our clients. Our client Elizabeth River Tunnels uses the latest strong HTTPS encryption on DriveERT.com, and several of our other recent projects have opted to utilize HTTPS to ensure the fastest and safest web experience available, including:

While not all the websites we’ve built for clients use HTTPS and HTTP/2, we will encourage all our clients to utilize these new technologies. In our opinion the increased speed, security, and SEO benefits make this decision a no brainer.


Have questions about your website? Get it touch!

 

For more on HTTPS and HTTP/2, check out some of our resources:

https://www.sitepoint.com/sitepoint-is-now-on-https/

http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2016/05/4-cutting-edge-technologies-to-speed-up-your-sites/

https://www.maxcdn.com/one/visual-glossary/http2/

http://designmodo.com/http2/