What is the HTTPS standard?

In a nutshell, Google Chrome aims to move towards a more secure web, taking direct action by penalising websites without an SSL certificate installed. You can tell if a website has a certificate installed by looking at the URL address bar and seeing HTTPS or a padlock symbol displayed, rather than simply HTTP. HTTP websites are not safe to input sensitive data and are vulnerable to being intercepted by unscrupulous third parties.

What is an SSL certificate?

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate encrypts the information your website gathers from your customers, e.g. credit card details used for online purchases and personal details entered into contact and enquiry form fields.

Visually, Chrome highlights secure sites with a green padlock and “Secure” in the address bar. Sites without the HTTPS protocol will stand out to users with a red warning triangle and “Not secure” label in the address bar. While Chrome is the preferred web browser for over 50% of all web users, other browsers also display padlocks for secure sites and savvy web users are becoming more aware of clicking away from unprotected websites.

What does it mean for your website?

SSL certificates are not new. However while they were previously something mainly e-commerce sites needed to have, it’s now considered a wise move to apply certificates to any website.

The absence of an SSL certificate could adversely affect your website’s ranking in search results or sow doubt in a user’s mind about the security and integrity of your website, potentially turning away customers.

Significantly for commercial websites, Chrome will downgrade websites without an SSL certificate, meaning they will be less likely to show up in search results.

Is your website ready?

There are a number of steps involved on the back-end to transition a website from HTTP to HTTPS which is why it’s not a DIY exercise and it requires renewal every 12 months. It will also mean your website is served from a different port on the server and traffic to your site could drop briefly as Google works to re-index your site.

To minimise the risks and ensure as seamless a transition as possible to a secure website, get in touch today to upgrade your website.