From January 2017, Google started publicly shaming websites that haven’t updated to HTTPS, as part of their long-term objective to improve Internet security.
The update targeted websites in stages, starting with websites that collect sensitive data, such as passwords or credit card information, and was extended to all unsecured websites in later releases.
Studies show that users can become blind to warnings, or ignore them altogether, and this update was intended to clearly highlight that HTTP offers no data security. Passwords and credit card data can be easily intercepted as you communicate with a website.
Google isn’t alone in the fight to improve Internet security. Mozilla, the developer of Firefox, also encourage websites to update to HTTPS.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and is the secure version of HTTP. It is the method in which data is sent between your browser and the website that you’re on. HTTPS is used to protect personal data in transactions such as online banking or shopping, but it is useful for all communications between your browser and a website as it encrypts data using SSL (Secure Socket Layer).
How to check for HTTPS
It’s easy to check whether your website is secure. Load your website in your browser and check to the left of the URL to see if there is a padlock icon. This identifies whether your website uses HTTPS. You can also check by looking at the beginning of your URL. If your website begins with “http://” then you will need to upgrade.
Benefits of HTTPS
HTTPS offers a few important benefits to your business:
- Increased security – data is encrypted making it more difficult for sensitive information to be intercepted.
- Build trust – users know that their data is safe when dealing with your website. This helps to build a positive reputation with your customers. Websites that are labelled unsecured are likely to lose their customers’ trust.
- Ranking boost– Google wants the Internet to be a secure place, so back in 2014 it began giving a small ranking boost to websites that implemented HTTPS. It is likely that this ranking signal will be dialled down as more and more websites apply it, so get your boost before it’s gone!
Google also shows a security warning on pages that require the input of login information or data.
Google released a statement: “[in] October 2017, Chrome will show the ‘Not secure’ warning in two additional situations: when users enter data on an HTTP page, and on all HTTP pages visited in Incognito mode.”
If you would like to make sure that your website remains compliant with Google then get in touch to see how we can implement HTTPS onto your website.