Introducing SSL Certificates for HERO Websites

Are you interested in adding HTTPS compatibility to your website, with the lock icon in the address bar when someone visits your website? HERO PM has your solution!

A Little Background

HTTPS means that your website is being encrypted with additional security, using a secure certificate and a secure protocol. With all HERO Websites, transactions are always secured and sent over HTTPS. This includes things like listing inquiries, applications, and portal access. However, viewing your website is not encrypted by default – unless you upgrade to the Secure Website option.

Why HTTPS?

There are two primary reasons to upgrade to a Secure Website with HTTPS:

  1. Trust. There are a growing number of internet users who are learning to have a higher degree of trust in websites that display the lock in their address bar, indicating that they are secured. As time goes on, HTTPS and secure websites will be the standard, rather than the exception.
  2. SEO. Google has been saying for quite some time that they want a more secure web, and when the time is right, they will begin weighting secure sites higher in the search results than standard sites. Google’s present position is that they “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.” It has been the assumption of industry insiders that they will do this when the number of secure sites reaches critical mass. With the changes to security in February, 2017, this is getting close to reality. Already, Google is providing preferential display to secure websites, though not yet significant preference in ranking.

What is Required to Use HTTPS?

There are three different components in setting up a website for HTTPS. HERO Secure Websites takes care of all three for you.

  1. Website Structure. Since Websites v5, all websites have been structured for HTTPS compatibility. It’s always good to keep your version current to make sure you have all available updates.
  2. Website Protocol. The site must be accessed using the HTTPS protocol. Google detects when this is available and directs users to the most secure protocol. For visitors directly navigating to your website, they type “https” before your domain name to access your site securely. All Websites v5 support the secure protocol.
  3. Secure Certificate. Every company offering a secure version of their website must purchase a secure certificate. This is the file that is assigned to your company and must be installed to your website and domain. You may have seen secure certificates, also called SSL certificates, available online for $50 to $5000 per year. There are numerous levels of certificates for all sorts of different encryption needs. It can get pretty complicated, but HERO Secure Websites provide you with high security on a domain validated certificate, meaning that you do not have to file special paperwork or show up in person for a security audit (as required for the higher levels) – we make it super-simple. The certificates we offer are provided by industry-leader Symantec.

Why Not HTTPS?

With the February updates, most of the technical reasons from the past are no longer a factor. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of before upgrading to a Secure Website.

  • Cost. HERO PM provides the Secure Website upgrade for an initial fee of $100, then $50 per year for subsequent years. This fee covers the acquisition of your secure certificate, installation and configuration, and annual updates. Secure certificates don’t last forever, they’re only good for 365 days, after which we acquire an updated certificate and install it for you.
  • Flexibility. As security increases, there are slight reductions in flexibility. Here are two things you should be aware of:
    • Single Domain. A secure certificate can only be installed to one domain per site. If you have multiple domains on your site, you can keep them all, but only one can use HTTPS.
    • Email Switching. You cannot automatically switch between email services when you have a Secure Website. You can still use all supported HERO Websites email services (HERO Mail, Self-Hosted, Google, and Microsoft), but you’ll have to submit a request to us when you want to switch from one to another, and we’ll handle the change manually.

OK, Let’s Go!

When you’re ready to increase trust, and position yourself for the forthcoming SEO benefit, it’s easy to upgrade to a Secure Website. From your Control Panel, select Configuration – Orders & Upgrades – Order a Website Upgrade. Choose the Secure Website upgrade, and we’ll get to work on your certificate order and installation.