Erickson Dental Technologies

What Is HTTPS and Why Does It Matter?


Anyone using the internet has noticed some uniform resource locators (URLs) start with hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and others with hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS). This might not mean much for your everyday browsing activities because there’s no real difference between HTTP and HTTPS websites. However, there are critical differences you must understand.

As a dental office employee or owner, the slightest difference in a product or anything related to your business makes a big difference. Will switching over to the latter URL prefix affect your site and business?

It’s important to learn what HTTPS means and why it is a critical security concern. And why do you need it on your website? Find the answers to this and more questions below.

What Is HTTPS?

HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP. The latter protocol carries data across the world wide web through a client-to-server model.

HTTPS encrypts the data passing between the server and browser using secure sockets layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS). The encryption ensures data in the pipeline is undecipherable until the website owner unlocks it. This action allows users to share critical information, such as passwords, securely and safely over a network or the internet.

Note that encryption only starts a secure and encrypted connection after establishing trust between the server and browser. HTTP strict transport security (HSTS) highlights the importance of this trust. The web security policy ensures websites are only accessible via secure connections.

How to Tell If a Website Is Using HTTPS

The simplest way to identify a secure website is by checking your browser address bar. HTTP sites have http://, while secure ones use https://.

A padlock icon to the left of the URL is another indicator of an HTTPS site. Clicking the icon reveals more information, including a confirmation message, the issuer of the certificate, and the expiration date. You can also use anti-virus software to check on the security of a website.

5 Reasons for Enabling HTTPS on Your Dental Website

Improve SEO and Search Rankings

Secure your website with HTTPS if receiving sensitive information from patients and suppliers for multiple reasons. Here’s a look at the five main explanations why your dental practice website must have HTTPS.

1. Improve SEO and Search Rankings

Google recommends switching to HTTPS and has issued multiple updates to encourage site owners to make the change. The most significant update was in 2014 when the world’s largest search engine stated that HTTPS is a ranking signal. Since 2015, Google has been indexing HTTPS URLs before HTTP versions.

2. It’s Safer for Your Visitors

Over half the world is on the internet daily, and everyone expects surfing and browsing should be safe for their personal information and accountability. One way of breaking possible eavesdropping and hacking incidents is by implementing HTTPS. The implementation is now a standard security mark of a high-quality dental website.

3. Protects the Integrity of Your Site

HTTPS is an excellent strategy to protect your website from faulty communications and intruders coming between your users and server. Encryption helps secure client information, in-house correspondence, and private data. It will present your online front as a legitimate and secure communication portal.

For example, third parties can inject harmful or malicious ads that break website security and breach user information. The injection occurs via scripts, images, cookies, and many more. Such intrusions can occur from any hotspot, Wi-Fi network, or internet connection.

HTTPS protects you from such intrusions and increases site integrity.

4. Avoid “Not Secure” Chrome Alerts 

Since September 2016, Google Chrome has labeled HTTP sites with password and credit card fields as “not secure” in the URL bar. The warning is now rolling out to all unsecured websites – marking them with a red triangle. This is not a signal your visitors should see when visiting your site.

5. Accelerated Mobile Pages Require SSL

Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) is a technology that makes some pages load instantly on mobile. Some Google search results have a lightning bolt icon next to them when you’re using a mobile device. The icon means the site is AMP-ready.

AMP plays a major search engine optimization (SEO) role as websites with the feature gain better rankings. However, you require SSL to have your dental site labeled as AMP.

Create a Safe Online Space for Your Patients

search engine optimization

Converting your business site to HTTPS should be part of your digital marketing strategy. An unsecured website leads to a loss of traffic and trust, and your revenue will take a hit. It’s well worth the investment, so go ahead and implement HTTPS. Do you want to know more about implementing hypertext transfer protocol security for your dental website? Contact the experts today!