Switching your site to 100% HTTPS

Yung Chang

Most of the time websites will just switch to HTTPS when they are asking for private data such as login or contact forms. With the recent news that FaceBook has gone 100% HTTPS there is a growing debate about the advantages of going completely SSL.

Whenever I see discussions about using SSL there are always two common reasons stated not to go 100% SSL.

  • SSL will slow down the website and add overhead to the server resources
  • It will have a negative affect on SEO

I am going to deal with both these points. But let me first qualify my answers. Servertastic has been running as 100% HTTPS for the last 5 years. It can not be accessed over a non-SSL connection.

SSL will slow down the website and add overhead to the server resources

This may have been true in the early days of the web. However with modern day servers and browser technologies the overhead is tiny potentially 100ms or less. The benefits of using SSL outweigh the potential reduced performance.

100% HTTPS will have a negative affect on SEO

This was recently discussed on Search Engine Land. After 5 years of SSL on ServerTastic this is utter rubbish. In fact moving to 100% SSL reduced our bounce rate and increased conversions. This had a positive affect on search engine performance. The fact we use an EV Certificate means that for IE users the address bar goes completely green and for the majority of other browsers partially green. This generates instant trust with visitors leading to lower bounce rates.

Here Matt Cutts talks about websites going 100% HTTPS

His suggestion is it will not have a major impact (although he does seem unsure).

Here are some of my tips to making 100% SSL successful

  • Make sure all content is loaded over SSL to avoid mixed content warnings
  • Any third party code should use protocol relative links or HTTPS directly
  • Edit your htaccess files to 301 redirect all traffic to HTTPS
  • Use relative internal linking or ensure all internal links start with HTTPS
  • Check all pages for any SSL errors or warnings!

Have you or are you considering 100% HTTPS? Let us know your thoughts.