HTTPS: The S stands for secure

by Franz Neumann

Beginning January 2017, users of Google’s Chrome browser will begin to see a warning from Google anytime they visit a website that uses HTTP rather than HTTPS.

I’m Already Lost

HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol zzzzzzzzzzzz) is that annoying prefix at the beginning of a web address. With HTTP, someone on the network with the right tools can see log-in information, form contents--just about everything that’s sent back and forth between a website and its visitor. With HTTPS, traffic is encrypted, delivering a more secure connection.

Why Is Google Doing This?

In the interest of increasing security, Google will begin to display a warning in Chrome browsers when website traffic isn’t encrypted. This is meant to inform visitors of the potential risks they’re taking, as well as prod website owners into upgrading their sites to HTTPS. As a perk for upgrading to HTTPS, Google is ever so slightly raising a site’s ranking compared to other non-HTTPS websites.

Can I Leave My Site As-Is?

Nothing will break on your site come January 2017 if you choose not to update to HTTPS. No one knows whether Google will target your website for a warning message right away. It may be six months later, or more. However, leaving your site as-is opens you up to losing customer trust at some point. While other web browsers won’t show the Google warning message initially, they may adopt the same practice. In addition, Chrome users are likely already 50% or more of your current visitors so it’s not a segment of your audience you can ignore.

Okay, So What Do I Need To Do?

If you’re a current client and hosted with us at Copy & Design, simply drop us a line and let us know you’d like to make your site HTTPS-compliant. We’ll take care of the rest. If your hosting is elsewhere, contact your hosting provider about purchasing a digital certificate and getting it installed on your web server.

Will I Notice A Change After I Switch?

You’ll notice two changes. 1) Your domain will be at https:// rather than http:// and 2) you’ll also see the little padlock icon in the URL bar letting visitors know that traffic to and from your website is secure.

Learn more here: support.google.com