In Ask Our Gurus, Web Design

Google is getting more security conscious all the time. When you use the Google Chrome browser, you’ve probably noticed that green padlock and the word “Secure” beside some website addresses:

Safe and secure web page

Other websites – maybe even yours – show as not secure:

Unsafe Web PageStarting in October, Google is upping the ante on security. It won’t just be web pages with credit card or password forms; it will be all pages with forms, and every single page in Google Chrome’s Incognito mode.

Why is Google Doing This?

Studies show that people don’t see a lack of a secure sign as a warning. A lot of information gets shared on the Internet. Many users don’t realize that the sites they are sharing their information on aren’t as secure as others.

Google’s plan to clearly label unsafe pages is another step towards making their browser safer and protecting the privacy of its users from outside sources, like hackers.

In January 2017, Chrome Began Flagging Certain HTTP Forms

In 2016, Chrome announced that starting in 2017, sites that did not have an SSL certificate would begin being marked as unsafe.

The process of identifying pages as not secure is a gradual one that started with the release of Chrome version 56.

HTTP pages that had a password or credit card field for a user to fill out were marked as unsafe in the address bar.

January 2017 SSL Updates on Chrome

In October 2017, Warnings Will Appear on All Form and Incognito Pages

In October, Chrome’s SSL policy will grow to include:

  • All HTTP pages where you enter data – even search boxes
  • All HTTP Incognito pages

Every page on the standard Google Chrome browser will load normally. But when a user begins filling out any kind of field, including name, phone number, or even search boxes on the website, a warning will appear in the address bar.

October 2017 SSL Changes on ChromeEventually, all HTTP Pages Will Be Flagged as Not Secure

According to a recent post on the Chromium Forum, the goal is to eventually show ‘Not Secure’ on all HTTP pages across the browser. That means that even if you have no forms for users to fill in, your website could still be flagged as unsafe on the Chrome browser.

What Does This Mean for Me?

You’re probably wondering why this matters to you. Your website seems to work just fine. That could be true, but it will matter to your online audience.

If they see the clear warning that your website is unsafe, your audience will be less likely to visit and interact with it.

Approximately 50% of Internet users use Google Chrome as their browser. With such a large percentage of your target audience using this browser, you don’t want them to be deterred by a “not secure” warning.

You also don’t want to damage your credibility by putting their personal information at risk due to lack of proper encryption.

That’s why you should get an SSL certificate as soon as possible.

What’s an SSL Certificate, and How Does It Affect My Website?

An SSL (or Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is what adds the ‘S’ to HTTPS in the domain search field in your browser. HTTPS signals that all data between your website and the user’s browser is automatically encrypted and secure.

Think of it as a bridge between your website and Chrome. The information goes back and forth over the bridge. An SSL certificate adds an extra layer of support to this bridge, making sure it won’t be damaged or tampered with. Without it, your bridge is more susceptible to hackers and other potential threats.

When you’re using an http page, that signals to your audience that your ‘bridge is at risk’ – there’s nothing encrypting the data.

An SSL certificate is attached to your server and your domain, and creates the encrypted passage between the web server and browser through a public and a private key.

Then users will see your domain name with https in front of it. It means that it is safe to pass information between the browser and the web page.

Talk to a Professional About Getting an SSL Certificate

The best approach to getting an SSL certificate is to talk to a professional. There’s a lot that goes into the process of switching over your website pages, and you don’t want to miss any important steps.

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