Matt Mullenweg, founder and CEO of Automattic and The WordPress Foundation, announced the sites hosted on WordPress would need to support SSL security protocols in 2017. The upcoming 4.7 platform build will require HTTPS for enhanced safety.
The announcement comes as WordPress prepares for the release of the 4.7 version.
The model will launch tomorrow, December 6, and it will feature a variety of enhanced developer tools as well as aesthetically pleasing options to improve sites’ look.
The move towards SSL by WordPress responds to increasing concerns of the industry in regards to security and privacy.
Mullenweg deemed HTTPS support the next logical step in user communications safety online.
Why is WordPress moving to SSL?
The website giant called 2017 “a turning point” in user security to push forward its SSL initiative. The implementation of HTTPS as a WordPress standard will provide users with an encrypted transmission of their data.
SSL stands for Security Sockets Layer, and it is a cryptographic security protocol established between a client and a server through an SSL certificate.
The certificate gives the parties involved the ability to transfer data over an encrypted link using unique keys generated for each transmission.
HTTPS, on the other hand, refers to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol that integrates SSL data encryption. It is, basically, a more secure version of the primary platform used online to sustain nearly every website on the World Wide Web.
WordPress.com, the free service supported by The WordPress Foundation, already provides free HTTPS to the users hosting sites on its platform.
WordPress.org sites, however, will see changes in features like API authentication only available to those with SSL protocols installed due to the sensitive nature of data nowadays.
Pushing HTTPS as a standard in WordPress will make over 25% of the sites online more secure.
How will SSL affect SEO?
Mullenweg added the move towards SSL security protocols would also benefit sites that wish to improve their ranking rates on search engines.
Most notably, Google announced back in August that it would start taking into account HTTPS as a ranking signal for sites on Google Chrome. The tech giant hopes this will help the internet to become a safer place for users.
Google Chrome will warn users about unsafe pages with an X mark next to the domain on the query list. Sites that don’t use SSL are likely to receive the X mark which would ultimately make them rank poorly on SEO charts.