Quinn Labs: A website about building websites

tls https lock

The TLS is always on at Quinn Interactive

What happened?

TLS HTTPS lock icon

Check out that lovely lock icon!

You might have noticed that the URL on our company site changed just a bit, from http://quinn.com to https://quinn.com. A small change, but a fairly big difference.

That lock means that your interactions with our website are secured with TLS (transport layer security), the web standard for secure communications. That includes submissions to our contact and free-consultation forms. Also, Google slightly boosts the prominence of secure pages, according to their recent blog post.

Benefits of TLS

TLS (older versions were called “SSL”) is the internet technology that uses cryptography to provide

  • Authentication (validates that the websites you visit are who they claim to be)
  • Data integrity (ensures that web pages and form submissions haven’t been tampered with while traveling over the Internet)
  • Encryption (eavesdroppers & “hackers” can’t read your communications)

Benefits to you, the web site owner

  • SEO: correctly & consistently implementing TLS-always is a ranking signal for Google which means your site may float up a bit in search results
  • With SPDY & HTTP/2.0, implementing always-on TLS can reduce infrastructure requirements (CPU, bandwidth, memory), especially when implemented with an efficient web server like nginx

Benefits to your web site’s visitors

  • Privacy

    Encryption means that no eavesdroppers can listen in on people’s activities on the websites they use.

  • Trust

    Authentication means that web users know that the sites they use are the ones they mean to use. Data integrity means that users know the information they get from web sites hasn’t been tampered with.

Take-away concept

All communications should be secure by default. As more websites turn on TLS all the time, the web becomes more trustworthy and more secure.

Audit a TLS implementation

To check the TLS implementation of your web browser, your site, or some other site that you use, you can use the tools at SSL Labs. The web site test, in particular, issues your site a letter grade and offers specific recommendations for improvements.

Resources

About the Author

  • fred

    Fred Condo

    Fred has a Ph.D. in the Management of Information Systems and Cognitive Psychology from Claremont Graduate School, and is Chief Engineer at Quinn Interactive. He taught a graduate level class, “Principles of Usability” at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and was an Assistant Professor in the Communication Design department at California State University, Chico for 6 years, teaching web development and human factors. Fred got into SilverStripe in 2008. He has made 35 commits to the SilverStripe framework repository, which makes him the 36th-most prolific contributor to the project (as of November 2014). You should follow him on GitHub here.

    More from Fred Condo