Web Design

Google could soon mark your website as not secure

For the last few years, Google has been slowly pushing website owners towards the use of HTTPS (also referred to as SSL). Nearly all e-commerce websites already have some form of HTTPS, but now Google has ramped things up for all website owners and is pushing website owners to switch to HTTPS, or else.

Most websites run on HTTP. What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS you ask?

The problem is that HTTP (note: no “s” on the end) data is not encrypted, and it can be intercepted by third parties to gather data being passed between the two systems.

I’ve seen a rise in people coming to Hidden Depth needing our help after their website got hacked. HTTPS is not going to stop your website being hacked, but it is a start and should be the least security provided to website visitors. Now Google is forcing the issue, so unless you want visitors leaving your site in their droves, then it’s time to make the switch to HTTPS.

Why do I need HTTPS?

Imagine you have to pay for something in a shop. You hand your credit card to a complete stranger, they pass it to someone else, and then someone else, and so on. Eventually, the card reaches the cashier. How do you know someone along the way did not steal your information? Scary isn’t it. Any information you exchange with a website not encrypted with HTTPS is doing something similar. Without encryption, your information can be seen by others.

HTTPS is designed to provide security for website owners and visitors. It encrypts the information you enter on a website and stops potential hackers sniffing out your information. Without HTTPS you could be revealing your email address, password, search history, and anything else you type into a web browser.

What will HTTPS do for me?

Moving your website to HTTPS will provide you with some benefits:

  • SEO – Google has already stated at the start of this year that HTTPS is now a ranking factor for websites. In April Moz reported that half of all page 1 Google search results are now HTTPS.
  • Security – HTTPS encrypts the connection, so you are keeping your visitor’s information safe and secure
  • Trust – Users want to know that their information is secure, they want to know their search history and passwords are private. If you see a warning saying a website is Not secure would you feel comfortable filling in personal details into a form?
  • Traffic / Leads – Unless you want visitors leaving your site in their droves, then it’s time to make the switch to HTTPS.

This affects everyone!

The new warning in Google Chrome is not just for websites that take payments online. Warnings will be shown for every website that has a form that someone can enter any data into. This could be a search bar, your contact form, a payment page or a newsletter sign up form. As soon as the user types anything into a form field, the warning will display. This change in the address bar is bound to catch your attention and make you think twice about completing the form.

How do I make the switch to HTTPS?

  1. To serve a website over HTTPS, you need an SSL cert. Your web designer or hosting company can help you with this.
  2. You also need to make sure all links in your website are changed from HTTP to HTTPS. Your web designer is the person to talk to here.

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About the author

Dave Meier is the Founder of Hidden Depth (creative design services for ambitious businesses) who loves creating products and services that provide simple solutions to business problems.