HTTP or HTTPs?
In its ongoing effort to make the internet more secure, Google, along with Firefox and many other browser manufacturers have recently introduced an update to their browsers and search results to warn consumers of sites not using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). SSL is a cryptographic protocol that provides security over internet communications, providing a secure channel between two machines or devices operating over the network.
On February 8, 2018, Google confirmed that secure websites are here to stay.
As of July 2018, along with the release of Chrome version 68, all HTTP websites will be marked as “not secure” on Google Chrome, regardless of whether or not the pages on your website ask for sensitive information.
So, what does this mean for you, your website, and your business? We have some insights and next steps for you below. But first, let’s reel it back –
What is HTTP?
HTTP = hypertext transfer protocol
It’s the application that allows your website’s server to talk to your web browser.
A secured HTTP, denoted by HTTPS, encrypts the data passed along that connection so that it is secured.
It uses a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to encrypt data that is transferred between the user and the server. Secure websites protect users against information theft, corruption of files when they are being transferred, and attacks.
Google uses three different warnings to notate the security of a website.
- Secure: Information you send or get through the site is private.
Even if you see this icon, always be careful when sharing private information. Look at the address bar to make sure you’re on the site you want to visit.
- Info or Not Secure: The site isn’t using a private connection. Someone might be able to see or change the information you send or get through this site.
You might see a “Login not secure” or “Payment not secure” message. We suggest that you don’t enter sensitive details, like passwords or credit cards.
- Not Secure: Proceed with caution. Something is severely wrong with the privacy of this site’s connection. Someone might be able to see the information you send or get through this site.
- Dangerous: Avoid this site. If you see a full-page red warning screen, the site has been flagged as unsafe by Safe Browsing. Using the site will likely put your private information at risk.
What Does this Mean for Your Business?
Naturally, as digital marketers, we must ask ourselves “What effect does this have on SEO, UX, etc?” And, we’ve heard similar questions from our clients.
We see this change mainly affecting two things: Rankings and Conversions.
Google has made it known that security is a top priority of theirs. While Google has never outright said that secure websites will produce higher rankings, over the last several years, there have been indications that this may be true.
In 2015, Google stated that a website served on HTTPS would receive preference in the case of a tie between two search results. Meaning, if your website is equal to your competitor’s in all other aspects of SEO, but yours is secured, yours will receive the higher rank.
Users trust secure websites. It’s no surprise that if a user navigates to a page with a big red warning on it, they would click out of that page as fast as possible. This significantly affects bounce rate, click-through-rate, session duration, and therefore conversions.
What should you do?
In order to ensure that your site is now labelled as secure, your web design agency will need to do some additional work to your website to enable SSL. The work will include installing the SSL certificate into your hosting account on your server and configuring your website to redirect traffic to the SSL version.
Effortless Office ensure that all sites that we have produced have valid SSL certificates and that our clients sites are displayed as ‘SECURE’
If you need any further advice then you are welcome to contact me, or have a look at our web design page
Steve Miles – Effortless Office 07939 243497 – [email protected]