WordPress to require HTTPS in 2017

In 2017, WordPress will start introducing features which require websites have HTTPS available, the company stated in an announcement today. WordPress describes the change as the “next hurdle” users are going to face, akin to the adoption of JavaScript.

The first change WordPress will make is to no longer promote hosting partners unless they provide an SSL certificate by default for all accounts. This change is said to happen in early 2017.

The company will further assess which features would benefit most from SSL, and only make them available when SSL is present on a website. One of the features being considered is API authentication.

This is another example of a major web company’s push toward a safer and more encrypted internet. With this change, there’s no doubt the amount of WordPress websites on HTTPS is about to increase.

Many companies are following Google’s lead when it was decided back in 2014 that HTTPS is so important that it deserves to be a ranking factor. Mind you, the ranking factor is only slight. If all else was equal, but one site was on HTTPS and the other wasn’t, the site on HTTPS would get a ranking boost.

Despite the ranking factor being slight, it hasn’t stopped many SEOs and concerned site owners from migrating to HTTPS. Now it’s grown to become a trust factor for users, signalling to them the site they’re on cares about protecting their privacy.

Whether as a ranking factor or a trust factor, the reasons to make the switch to HTTPS are piling up. For that matter, the reasons not to switch are diminishing.

Is it difficult to move to HTTPS?

Moving to HTTPS used to be an expensive and complicated process. This held some webmasters back from giving HTTPS a second thought. WordPress points to projects like Let’s Encrypt that have made it fast and free to get an SSL certificate. If you’re interested in getting ahead, WPBeginner has a handy article on how to get started.

It sounds like we can expect further announcements from WordPress in the near future regarding HTTPS.

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