SSL, HTTPS, and Secure Website Changes Explained

Google Chrome showing warning about an unsecure connection

Have you ever gotten a message like this when online? This is your web browser like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge or Internet Explorer saying you are going to a non-secure website, and to acknowledge the risk before you go to it…and most likely you didn’t go forward with viewing it.  The warning says “don’t trust me, your information isn’t private” and it is alarming to a website visitor.

SSL, HTTPS, and Secure Websites

SSL?

HTTPS?

I know, it’s technical jargon that you’re not sure what to make of it, much less understand how those acronyms impact you.

Why They Matter:

Google has announced changes, starting in October that impact your website, sending some of your website visitors a notification like the one above that they will need to acknowledge they want to continue to the “unsecure” page.  They are pushing to make secure websites the standard, just like they did with mobile responsive websites two years ago.

These changes are expected to start in October and you need to update your site to a secure website by installing a security certificate on the server so that people don’t get a message like the picture above when they try to fill out a form on your website using the web browsers Chrome and Firefox.

Recommendation: Take your website secure by installing a security certificate.

Going secure on your website involves executing a number of steps with your website and website server being integrated with an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate.  If you’d like to know how to do that, we’ve written a detailed technical post about why a secure site matters, how to install an SSL and convert to HTTPS on WordPress.

What is the benefit?

Your secure site will prevent visitors from getting that message above, it will be harder to hack and lastly, Google is providing an incentive in search engine optimization.

Secure sites will receive a small increase in search rankings. This means your website will rank higher in Google when compared to non-secure sites and allow for more traffic to your site.

Google’s Announcement:

Starting sometime in October, the web browser Google Chrome will start alerting web site visitors who navigate to web pages that contain form fields that are served insecurely, that the page they are visiting is collecting information in an insecure manner. Chrome will display a notification that users will have to acknowledge before proceeding to the “insecure” page. This will undoubtedly have a negative impact for many websites.

 

Details – Why?

Major industry players such as Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, etc have been advocating for all web traffic to be served in a secure manner using the https:// protocol.  This means less hacking, less viruses and ultimately less concern and frustrations by the people who use web browsers.

Why now?

Traditionally you would have a secure site if you had ecommerce, but beyond that it wasn’t considered a mainstream choice for most websites.

However hacking, viruses and malicious bots that are trying to exploit insecure websites, which allow for the spread of additional viruses or changes to your own website are on the rise.  Being secure makes it more difficult for your site to be exploited.

How do you secure your site?

  1. Purchase and install the security certificate (SSL) on your website server

  2. Reconfigure the website to properly serve all content securely

  3. Notify and confirm Google is aware of the changes

What’s next?

It’s time to convert your WordPress site to HTTPS and SSL. You can do it yourself, or if you would like the experts to handle it, we can help. Contact us today to discuss making your site secure with SSL and HTTPS.

Is your website from 2014 or older?  If yes, it is time for a new website.

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