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Google Marks Non-HTTPS Sites as “Unsafe”

Leading browsers now require HTTPS for sites that collect personal information. Get a SSL Certificate to ensure your site complies.

Everyone knows that online security is a big issue. Cybercrime is an ever-present threat, and as with most types of criminal activity, as the security gets better, the criminals get smarter. We see it with homes, we see it with cars, and we most certainly see it online. At the beginning of this year, Google announced that its Chrome browser would flag any non-HTTPS site as non-secure, and Firefox is not far behind. As such, it is unsurprising that most website designers in Essex have been on the receiving end of a whole host of queries from site owners as to how they can ensure their website is fit for purpose.

What is HTTPS?

Take a look at the navigation bar. If you are using Chrome, you will see a padlock icon alongside the word “secure” in a reassuring shade of green, as you are on a secure connection. If the site was using an HTTP protocol instead of HTTPS, Chrome would be flashing up warnings indicating red for danger and telling you that the site is not secure. As you might expect, there is little difference between the two protocols except that HTTPS has an additional level of security. While HTTP transactions between your machine and the site can be observed by third parties, HTTPS uses additional encryption to ensure that only you and the site can see what is happening.

Arguably, it matters little either way if you are simply checking the football scores or reading a film review. If, however, you are entering your credit card details or submitting personal details about your family, you can see why HTTPS is so important.

How do I join?

Clearly, if your site is not secure, it is going to affect your visitors, conversions and overall SEO. Even if you run a simple blog and have nothing to do with gathering sensitive data or payment records, that red warning is certain to turn cautious visitors away from your site. Enabling HTTPS on your website requires you to obtain something called an SSL Certificate. This allows your site to communicate with visitors using the additional level of encryption mentioned earlier, and also gives a seal of approval to confirm to visitors, and indeed to the web browser, that your site is secure.

With the certificate in place, you then need to formally approve it, perform a full backup of your site and then change every one of your internal links. This is potentially more complicated than it sounds, as you will need to update everything on Google Adwords, any other locations where you have paid ads and, of course, throughout your social media channels.

The process can be time-consuming, and it is important to make sure everything is covered. Once it is, you can set up a 301 redirect to ensure everyone is sent to the right place. And there you have it – a secure website that Google will love as much as your visitors.

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