JI Design | Is Your Website Secure?
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Is Your Website Secure?

This is a pretty important question! Did you know that with the release of Google Chrome 68 next month (July of 2018) all non-secure HTTP sites will be flagged as such and Chrome will warn visitors that your site is potentially unsafe. Sounds a little intimidating, doesn’t it?

I am just a small business. Does it really matter?

If you already have an HTTPS site with an SSL certificate, you can stop reading this blog right now and rest assured that you are already prepared. For the rest of us, if you have an HTTPS site but you do not have an SSL certificate, or if you just have an HTTP site, you should probably consider an update. No one likes change and I completely understand, so let’s talk about why this is one that is worth giving strong consideration

First, what is an SSL certificate?

If you have to have one, it might be nice to know what it is! To keep things as simple as possible, I did my best to find an explanation in layman’s terms. GoDaddy writes that “an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology. Encryption is the process of scrambling data into an undecipherable format that can only be returned to a readable format with the proper decryption key.”

Personally, I like the explanation in their video better. It does a pretty good job of defining an SSL and also tells us how an SSL certificate increases visitor confidence in your website. Who doesn’t want that?

What will visitors see when they visit my unsecure site?

GoDaddy warns us that “Google’s objective is to ensure internet users can easily recognize whether sites are safe or not, the Not Secure warning will be prominently displayed on sites without HTTPS secure connection.”

“Google has been nudging users away from unencrypted sites for years, but this is the most forceful nudge yet. Google search began down-ranking unencrypted sites in 2015,” writes Russell Brandom in his article on The Verge. And it isn’t just Google, other browsers are not far behind this latest trend.

Will not having an SSL affect my search engine rankings?

Yes it will! Unfortunately, an unsecure HTTP site is already affecting search engine optimization (SEO) on your site to some extent. This is an excerpt from a Google Blog, HTTPS as a ranking signal, published in August of 2014: “…over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

So now what?

Google says that “a secure website is here to stay” and I am glad for this. Consumers, myself included, want to know that we are secure while browsing the web, that our data is protected, and that we are safe. A secure site helps to build trust with your customers and trust is always a good thing. If you need help making sure that your site is secure, we are here to help!