By Garth Jones
In my upcoming 6-part blog post set, instead of focusing on ConfigMgr, I’m going to talk about the Cloud and how you can setup your company’s website or even your own blog site with HTTPS and/or Content Delivery Network (CDN).
First, though, I’m going to cover HTTPS and CDN in this blog post and I’ll tell you why I think they are important. In later posts, I’ll walk you through the process of setting-up a website with both HTTPS and CDN using Azure CDN.
What is HTTPS?
Unlike HTTP, HTTPS guarantees that the connection between a computer and a website is secure and encrypted. This is great for securing login information or other sensitive information, and it may also help boost your website’s trust level.
At a later date I will go into this in more detail, but for now notice in the above screenshots that the first URL is using HTTPS and the URL’s color is white? This means that this website has a standard SSL certificate. In the second window the URL’s color is green. Green means that this website has an Extended Validation SSL certificate. The second certificate is much harder to get and is trusted more. This is why Internet Explorer/Edge will show this site’s URL in green.
Quick side note: Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Yandix browsers will also display a site’s URL in green if it has an Extended Validation SSL certificate.
What is CDN?
A content delivery network or content distribution network is a globally distributed network of proxy servers deployed in multiple data centers. The goal of a CDN is to serve content to end-users with high availability and high performance. CDNs serve a large fraction of the Internet content today, including web objects, downloadable objects, applications, live streaming media, on-demand streaming media, and social networks.
Why is CDN important? The short answer is performance. The closer the files are to the end-user the faster the website.
Why use HTTPS?
There are many reasons why you would want to use HTTPS. Obviously security and encryption are important factors. It is also important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having an HTTPS website will get a high ranking in Google and I also believe it will give you a higher ranking with other search engines too. As we all know, every little bit helps over your competition!
Another reason relates to trust. Does seeing the following message inspire trust when logging onto a website? Does it affect your level of confidence? I think it does.
Why use CDN?
The answer is PERFORMANCE! Think about the number of times you visit a website that’s slow to display. Instead of waiting, how often do you move onto another site? I know that I do that a lot.
Here’s a blog post about website loading times. In a nutshell it says that the longer (more than a few seconds) the website takes to load the more likely someone will abandon the site and move onto another site. The infographic on the page says, “If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.” Although I don’t think it is as dramatic as that for most companies, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was $200,000 in sales a year. Yikes!
Who needs HTTPS and/or CDN?
I would suggest that every website should have both! It doesn’t matter if this is your personal blog site or a company site. You want people to trust you and to visit your website, otherwise, why did you create the site in the first place?
In the next blog post in this set, I will talk about website performance and I’ll make a few predictions!
I hope that you find this blog post useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me @GarthMJ.