October 10, 2014

Securing Website with Free Universal SSL

On September 9, 2014, CloudFlare, a free service that accelerates and secures website by acting as a proxy between website visitor and server, announced the release of Universal SSL that provides SSL connection to all of its customers for free. And in about a week, my one-page resume site is now secured over HTTPS.

What is HTTPS?

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure communication protocol over a computer network by adding security capabilities of SSL/TSL to standard HTTP communications.
A website secured with HTTPS protects users' data through:
  • Encryption of the exchanged data, which includes user's activities across pages.
  • Data Integrity is maintained during transfer and cannot be modified or corrupted without being detected.
  • Authentication, which proves that user is communicating with the intended website, protecting users from man-in-the-middle attacks and build their trust.
Therefore, any data, such as personal information, entered into the contact form on my website, is protected.

Benefits of secured website

Apart from the obvious security, secured website might also receive ranking boost in Google search. As a part of its effort to make the Internet safer, Google announced this ranking boost in early August.

One other benefit, if your website is running on CloudFlare, is performance boost. Following the launch of Universal SSL, CloudFlare followed up by rolling out SPDY protocol for everyone. SPDY is an open networking protocol for transporting web content that manipulates HTTP traffic, thus reducing web page load latency while improving web security.
Unfortunately, instead of improvement, my website experienced a bit drop in loading speed. However, I believe this is because I use Timeline JS, which is quite a resource hog. I am planning to change it to a more SEO-friendly timeline.

Before HTTPS

Photo by Yuri Samoilov is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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