not secure

Google has announced that their popular 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. 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 forms as “not secure”. So, to further explain what this means, our Director of Website Management at Alter Endeavors, Steve Joiner, is here to help tell us how this may affect your website.

Wait, What?

Today most websites are not encrypted, although the number that are is growing fast. 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 more easily intercepted and successfully read. Websites that are encrypted, 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 makes it much more difficult to intercept. SSL Certificates typically have to be renewed periodically in one, two or three year increments.

Why Google Decided To Make HTTP “Not Secure”

Google has long been a proponent of a safer, more protected 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 have encryptions higher in search engine results. Google wants to alert searchers when they are visiting a site that isn’t encrypted, which is why they have decided to start flagging sites that aren’t encrypted as “not secure.”

Should you consider switching your website to HTTPS and encryption? 

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. While a SSL certification may not be necessary, it can improve your overall success and traffic to your site.

What is involved in switching from HTTP 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 it is purchased and 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. Lastly, this change should be reflected in Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools to help protect your existing search rankings.

Help! This is way too technical!  Can Alter Endeavors help?

Yes, Alter Endeavors can definitely help you with this. To start, we can purchase the SSL certificate on your behalf. Then, we can install it on your website for you. Next, we would review your site and identify potential problems with the switch over to encryption. Lastly, we can notify Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools that your site is now HTTPS/encrypted to help improve your search rankings and make sure your website is no longer marked as “not secure.”

How much will this cost you?

The two costs to consider would be the cost of the SSL certificate and the cost of our Alter Endeavors developer’s time. The cost of the SSL certificate is approximately $75-$150. If you wanted to hire AE’s developer, it would probably take anywhere between 2-5 hours. Once you Contact Us, we will review your site and let you know ahead of time what our estimate is.

We know that this topic can be too technical at times, but we hope this article has helped explain what this update will mean for your website!