HTTP Stands for Hypertext transfer protocol. Most web servers on the internet used to use this protocol. It's somewhat simple, and any newly installed web server on a Hostwinds VPS or dedicated server will support this protocol out of the box.
Unfortunately, it is also insecure. HTTP does nothing to protect communication between your clients and your website. Consequently, anybody with the proper tools can view your passwords, private data, or other data your users post on that server.
For these reasons, we highly recommend using https rather than HTTP by installing an SSL Certificate.
To deal with these shortcomings, Encryption was added to HTTP, making a new protocol, HTTPS. For web host customers to take advantage of the security offered by HTTPS, an SSL must be used. SSL stands for "Secure Sockets Layer." Using HTTPS with an SSL ensures that data transferred between client and server is encrypted, and both the client and the server are who they say they are.
To do this, an SSL relies on certain trusted authorities to issue what are called "Certificates." To use a public SSL, a certificate must be purchased from a publically trusted authority.
NOTE: Hostwinds sells SSL certificates. You may purchase them from our website.
Benefits of Setting Up An SSL
Your site will be marked as secure. The Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers warn users when the sites they visit are not using any form of encryption.
Warning for HTTP sites in Firefox
Warning as shown in Chrome
Proper SSL configuration as seen in Firefox
Proper SSL connection as seen in Chrome.
It will be much more difficult for people to impersonate your site. HTTP does not provide any method of authentication. So, a malicious user can easily copy your website and host it on their server, stealing traffic from you and could even steal your user's data.
In conclusion, setting up HTTPS on a VPS or shared plan is something every website owner should consider.
Should you need any further help or assistance with this, please contact us so that we may answer any questions you have in regards to using https on your website.