06 July 2018

Missing an S? Don't Get Caught Out By Google's Latest HTTPS Changes!

By Carl Winter

HTTPS Secure

In an age of scandals such as Cambridge Analytica, and customers getting more internet savvy by the day, the topic of internet security is on everyone’s mind. Therefore, is it any surprise that Google is working to encourage websites to improve their security settings? This July, the latest of these changes are happening and, as you will discover, it would be a poor business move to not update your website’s security. Confused?  Panicking? Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, MCM Net is going to break down the latest of these changes for you and explain what changes your business’s website needs.

What changes are being introduced?

In July 2018 Google is bringing out the latest version of Chrome – Chrome 98. One of the key updates is that all websites that don’t begin with HTTPS (instead, starting with HTTP) will be marked as ‘not secure.’

HTTP- what?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The S stands for secure. HTTP is the way web browsers communicate with web servers. The S means that the connection between these two is encrypted and, as the name suggests, is secure so hackers etc can’t access and gather information from the website [source].

Do I need one?

The short answer is yes. This is especially true if you run an e-commerce site, as HTTPS protects your website from hackers who might try to steal your customer's bank details for fraudulent purposes. However, even if you don’t sell anything on your website, or collect personal information such as emails from sign up forms, it is worth having. For the main part, visitors to your site are more likely to trust your website and continue to use it as they feel safe on it. Now Chrome will be making it more obvious which sites are not secure, you risk losing a lot of potential customers who may leave when they spot the “not secure” warning. Furthermore, hackers may use details they can acquire from your website to track your customer’s browsing history in order to identify them. Finally, Google has confirmed that having HTTPS can help your search ranking status (that is, how highly you place in search engine results), so not having HTTPS may cause you to rank lower, or for your ranking to drop.

The bottom line is, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

(Still not convinced? This resource should answer any other questions you have)

But it’s only Chrome, not all browsers.

This is true, but Chrome is used by the majority of internet users. At the time of writing, 59% of people use Chrome as their browser, with the second largest browser, Safari, only having a 14% share of browser use. Therefore, by ignoring this change, you could risk losing the majority of visitors to your site.

Ok, you’ve convinced me, but how do I add the S?

To convert from HTTP to HTTPS, you will need an SSL certificate. This is a file from a Certificate Authority. You can purchase one, normally for a yearly fee.

If you are unsure about updating your website’s security settings, do get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help you.

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