Google has announced that their updated Chrome Browser, starting in October 2017, will flag all websites that are not encrypted and ask for any information through forms, as “not secure.” Website encryption is used to secure data that is given by the visitor while on that website and to protect privacy. Google started doing this in January for websites that asked for personal or purchasing information, but starting in October, they will flag websites that ask for ANY information on web forms as “not secure”. So how will this affect your website?
Today most websites are not encrypted, although the number that are is growing quickly. If your website isn’t encrypted, it uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and doesn’t have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. This means that the information passed between website visitors and the website is open and vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack.
Encrypted websites use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and have SSL certificates installed. The SSL certificate ensures that the information passed between the website visitors and the website is encrypted which stops hackers in their tracks.
Why Google Is Doing This
Google has long been advocating for a safer, more Internet. When Google considers who to rank for any search term, they want to send searchers to safe and secure sites. Thus, Google has started to rank sites that are encrypted, ranking them higher in search engine results. Google also wants to alert searchers when they are visiting a site that isn’t encrypted, hence the warning lablel “not secure.”
Should you consider switching your website to HTTPS?
While it may seem hard or stressful to switch your website to HTTPS and encryption, it is definitely something you should consider doing. First, encryption will make your site safer and more secure for your visitors. Second, Google will give your site more “ranking points” for search engine results allowing your site to potentially do better than sites without encryption. Lastly, your site won’t be flagged as “not secure” when you are asking your visitors to provide information in a form. It will make your site more trustworthy.
What is involved in switching to HTTPS?
For starters, an SSL certificate must be purchased. Before purchasing the certificate, you must get your server set up and make sure it has the correct company name and address. Next, you need to submit a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). Then, you will have to submit the CSR to the Certificate Authority and get your domain and company validated.
Once you receive the certificate, you must get it installed on your site. In some cases, websites may include assets that are provided by unencrypted websites. Those must be reviewed and resolved in order to show your site as secure. Finally, this change should be reflected in Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools with appropriate redirects.
Help! This is way too technical!
If this is above your skill level, WebX can help you with this. To start, we can obtain the SSL certificate on your behalf and install it on your website. Next, we would review your site and identify & resolve potential problems with the change to encryption. Lastly, we can notify Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools that your site is now HTTPS/encrypted to
and make sure your website is no longer marked as “not secure.”