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What is Always on SSL (AOSSL): Why It Must Be Implemented on Your Website

How AOSSL Protect Users Data & Privacy While Giving SEO Boost?

Nowadays, website security is not something new. Every internet user knows about it, and they also know how prevalent online threats can be. Also, people who know even little about website security, especially the ones who have their websites, will know about the SSL/TLS Certificate.

There’s a chance that many people don’t fully integrate SSL/TLS certificates into their websites. For example, if you’ve ever noticed or else you own a website, you might know that many encrypt individual web pages with SSL/TLS certificate (HTTPS) instead of the entire site. Though they know how vital SSL/TLS certificates are and how it can help to turn your visitors into conversion.

It’s possible that even after knowing about the SSL/TLS certificate, you might not know every specific thing. By hearing about AOSSL (Always on SSL), you might be questioning yourself, now what’s this Always-on SSL (AOSSL), is it something new, do I need it or what if I don’t want to.

If you’re questioning yourself, then don’t fret, it’s not a big deal. Many still don’t know about it, and it’s obvious to ask. Nonetheless, this article will help you answer these questions, and you’ll be able to decide on your own whether you must have it or not.

Let’s dig into it.

What’s Always on SSL (AOSSL)?

Always on SSL (AOSSL) is one of the essential and cost-effective security measures that help in providing end-to-end protection to website visitors. It’s not a product, service, or any replacement to your existing SSL certificate, but an approach towards security that knows that it’s the utmost importance to protect the complete user session and not a single webpage of the website. Moreover, AOSSL starts with the HTTPS implementation for the entire site, and it also means setting the secure flag for all the session cookies to avoid content being sent out to unencrypted HTTP connection.

In other words, AOSSL (Always-On SSL) often called HTTPS Everywhere, means to integrate HTTPS on every single page of your website, for providing the secure encrypted connection to your users, instead of securing essential webpages like log in or checkout pages.

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AOSSL simply means using HTTPS throughout your website for protecting every data accessed by the user or transferred online. And, in today’s online world where there’s a high possibility of online threats, hijacking, or eavesdropping unencrypted sessions for stealing user’s information, it won’t be feasible to limit the encryption with only main pages of the site with SSL.

Continuous SSL connection ensures that all pages, sessions, cookies are secure, and the user’s data is safe, and there’s no need to worry about which page they’re. With the help of HTTPS everywhere, you can ensure users that their connection with your website is safe and secure.

Misunderstandings Regarding Always-On SSL

Some misunderstandings have occurred regarding SSL/TLS certificates and AOSSL, which need to be addressed.
  • Many think that implementing HTTPS will harm websites loading speed. On the contrary, many types of research have been done, and it’s proven that it’s not true at all, and websites that integrate HTTPS loads much faster compared to one on HTTP, when they’re HTTP2 enabled. Also, HTTP2 is a newer and faster protocol that works only for HTTPS-enabled pages.
  • Another misunderstanding is that you’ll need to buy additional hardware in their IT infrastructure to enable or force AOSSL. On the other hand, it’s not true, and even Google had concluded that their most high-volume site didn’t’ required any additional hardware when they were implementing Always-On SSL.
  • Also, there’s one more misunderstanding that SSL/TLS certificate interferes with browser caching. It’ll become a problem because web browser cache saves certain files like images and CSS style sheets of the website, which helps users by loading websites at a faster rate. However, browser caching doesn’t get affected by HTTPS, and it works similarly to HTTP. So, it won’t create a problem, and you can switch your website to HTTPS without worrying about browser caching.

Any Extra Technical Step Is Needed to Implement Always-On SSL?

Implementing AOSSL is quite simple. Generally, whenever you install an SSL/TLS Certificate, your website loads on HTTP or HTTPS. And to make SSL mandatory, you’re required to make a change, which is to force HTTPS redirection. For instance, you may need to set up 301 redirections in the .htaccess file or change WordPress settings.
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Benefits of Implementing Always-On SSL

  • It helps to keep the website secured from potential security threats. For instance, a site that hasn’t implemented AOSSL, and some of the pages are still using HTTP protocol, means that website is vulnerable to attacks. In today’s date, many hackers look for those insecure pages and attack by inserting malicious scripts, which weakens the security of the website.
  • Tracking the user’s movement from encrypted page to unencrypted one is not that hard. However, with the help of AOSSL, it won’t be possible by any third-party to trace a user’s activity on the website, as all the webpages will be encrypted.
  • These days HTTPS is mandatory. And if your website fails to load on HTTPS, users will face the Not Secure warning sign or, at the worst, the site will fail to load on the user’s browser. Likewise, your website traffic and conversion may reduce, because the user may think they’re on the insecure website. For example, you have a shopping portal, and the user is thinking of buying any product. They won’t do so because they’ll fear to submit their sensitive information such as credit card number on the website that shows warning messages.
  • However, if you’ve implemented AOSSL, it’ll help avoid such a scary warning message while showing a padlock sign on all the pages of the website.
  • AOSSL will help users providing smooth interaction with your website. For example, whenever the user visits the website that has not implemented AOSSL, they’ve to juggle between HTTP and HTTPS page, which gives extra burden to the server, as the new handshake is made between browser and server every time user interacts with HTTPS page.
  • It helps to boost Google search ranking. Yes, Google gives more priority and a small boost in ranking if the website is SSL encrypted. On the other hand, if the website pages are not on HTTPS, it does affect overall ranking. So, if you want a boost in your SEO efforts, it’s best to practice Always on SSL.

Read More: SEO Benefit of Enabling HTTPS

Cost to Implement AOSSL

You might be thinking though it offers many benefits, to implement AOSSL, you might have to pay something extra. That’s not true. On the contrary, the cost of AOSSL is included in any of the SSL/TLS Certificate you purchase. For example, even if you purchase the low-cost Comodo Positive SSL or the premium Extended Validated SSL/TLS Certificate, both will cover AOSSL free of cost when you make a purchase. And, the same is applied for the SSL you purchase for the websites that have sub-domains or multi-domains.

Summary

Earlier, experts were advising website owners and operators that it’s best to use SSL/TLS certificate for protecting user’s authentication, sensitive financial transactions, and other important activities. But that’s the fact that many organizations were quite unsure of protecting their entire website due to reasons like performance.

However, in today’s date internet has made its mark at such a level that it’s evident to take accurate measures to prevent unwanted security threats, and due to such situations, selective HTTPS is no longer sufficient. No doubt, SSL/TLS itself is essential, but it’s also equally crucial to protect the entire user experience and not merely login page or the shopping cart.

You can say that Always on SSL is not any “silver bullet” that will save from hijackers. Still, it must be implemented for an overall security strategy to protect users when they visit your website. Also, it’s one of the proven ways to stop side jacking and other man-in-the-middle attacks without spending any extra money while protecting the trust of website visitors.

Lastly, some of the giants like Facebook, PayPal, Twitter, Google, and others are also among the ones who use this AOSSL approach while delivering rich user experience.

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