Google is making changes to the way HTTP websites are displayed
Google has long since advocated for more security on the internet, stating outright that they’d prefer everyone to be on secured sites (HTTPS) as seen in this video from their I/O Conference in 2014.
As such, they are making changes to the way that unsecured (HTTP) websites are displayed in their browser.
Previously, an HTTP website would only be marked in the browser as “Not Secure” if there was a form to be filled out that included credit card details or passwords. That’s about to change.
Going forward, an HTTP site will be marked as “Not Secure” if it is being visited in Incognito mode, or if there is a form of any kind (even just a “contact form” asking for a name and email address).
HTTP vs. HTTPS: What’s the Difference?
You’ve probably already figured it out, but just in case – the “S” in HTTPS stands for “secure” – so, what does that actually mean?
The difference between a secure server and a non-secure server is the use of a so called SSL certificate. SSL certificates are what allow information being transmitted from your website (such as login details or a contact’s email address) to be encrypted, giving an extra layer of security.
What effect will this ultimately have if I don’t move to HTTPS?
You may be thinking that all you have is a enquiry form asking for clients to get in touch by submitting their name and phone number, so there’s no real reason for it to be secure.
The fact is, customers will be far more reluctant to hand over their name and number and if all of a sudden “Not Secure” flashes across the screen.
It can create a level of doubt about whether their personal information will be handled with care and confidentiality, and therefore can decrease the number of enquiries you receive from your website.
Having an SSL certificate running on an HTTPS website will let visitors know that you take their privacy seriously, so they will continue to do business with you.
The other benefit to moving to an HTTPS website is that Google already favours them when returning search results, and they will do so even more going forward.
Letting Google know that you’re handling people’s information securely increases the chances that you’ll show up higher in their rankings. Certainly higher than you would if you only had an HTTP site.
Okay, so how do I go about getting an HTTPS site?
SSL Certificates used to be expensive and somewhat technical to obtain and set up. High security ones can still range from $50/year to $300/year.
The good news is that many hosting providers now offer free basic SSL certificates with their hosting packages.
So, in order to run on an HTTPS website, find a hosting provider that offers that service. Some may even handle the website migration for you, and all that will be left to do is have your web developer set up the secured server.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of this and don’t know where to start, feel free to get in touch. This is something we’ve helped many clients with in the past, and would be happy to assist you with as well.