Install SSL (HTTPS) by July or Google “Dings” You

 In Articles, Security, SEO

The time has come for all websites to migrate to HTTPS. You have until July when Chrome 68 releases. Because starting then, with that version of Chrome, the Chrome browser will warn users about sites using HTTP (not secure) instead Of HTTPS (secure). If a potential customer is browsing to your site, that could make them squeamish enough to run for the exit (i.e., your competitor!). Even existing customers or clients might be thrown.

If you’re a regular reader you know that we’ve been talking about this for a while. Google has also pushed the date back a couple of times trying to avoid the massive disruption that will occur when websites start getting labeled, “Not Secure.”

What do I need to know?

If you haven’t been following, here’s what you need to know:

Google and the rest of the browsers have been working on this for a long time. Last year Google and Mozilla began the push towards universal encryption by changing the UI on their browsers. In addition to the padlock icon, any website with SSL is marked “Secure.”

The idea was that website owners would gradually adopt SSL as more and more features were being taken away.

The browsers also began marking HTTP sites “Not Secure.” This was done more gradually. The warnings started out just warning users when they were about to enter a password in an unencrypted field. Then in the Fall they turned up the volume even more and started marking any HTTP page with text fields “Not Secure.” Now, with the release of Chrome 68 in July, Google is cranking it up to 11. Any website served via HTTP is going to get the “Not Secure” indicator.

Starting July 2018, Google will penalize sites not protected by an SSL and served via HTTPS by labeling them as "Not Secure."
Starting July 2018, Google will penalize sites not protected by an SSL and served via HTTPS by labeling them as "Not Secure."

What’s the Big Deal with HTTPS?

HTTP is ancient by computer standards. It’s a protocol for communication and it worked fine for a while. Unfortunately, HTTP is not secure. When you make an HTTP connection with a website that connection is not secure. That means that anyone can eavesdrop on the connection and steal or manipulate any data passed back-and-forth.

HTTPS is secure. When you make a connection with a website the data being sent is encrypted. That essentially makes it worthless to anyone without the corresponding key. Beyond security, HTTPS also blocks ISPs from injecting ads on your website, it is faster and performs better than HTTP and, finally, you have to have encryption in order to use HTTP/2, which is becoming more widely adopted by the day.

What do I need to do?

You need to install an SSL certificate and migrate your website to HTTPS. Before you order one though, take stock of what you need to secure. You may just have a single domain or you may have something more complicated like sub-domains or even multiple domains, in which case you’ll want to find the right certificate. Don’t worry, there’s a diverse set of offerings that cover just about every use case.

Next you’ll need to migrate to HTTPS, you can do this by changing the protocol in your URLs to HTTPS, then using 301 redirects. You may also want to take the time to add your website to HSTS preload list.

An existing site’s migration will require a little extra work, or a lot, depending on the number of pages and the number of media elements. The link to every element on the site needs to be changed to the HTTPS protocol.

Either way, the key takeaway is that you have until July to get an SSL certificate, lest you anger Google.

And trust me, no one wants to cross Google.

Can I just call Batman?

Yes.  Not seriously, but we can help you out.  We can help you choose the proper SSL certificate, install it for you or work with your web host to install it, and then make all the changes to your site.  If you’d like a no-obligation quote, please contact us.

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