If you’re in charge of your own standalone IC Site or client sites that have forms on web pages that are HTTP (not HTTPS), you might have received an email from Google Search Console warning you that starting October 17, 2017, these pages will be marked with a ‘Not Secure’ warning in Chrome.
Do you manage websites that are HTTP and have pages with forms capturing some sort of customer data (eg. contact us form)? If yes, this notice is very important for your case and you should definitely care about the difference between http and https. Why?
It might seem so sudden, but the Google’s plan to change labeling HTTP sites as non-secure has been gradually taking place since January 2017, following the change of Chrome 56. In recent statements, Chrome explained this initiative as cracking down on HTTP infractions with credit cards and passwords. “Passwords and credit cards are not the only types of data that should be private. Any type of data that users type into websites should not be accessible to others on the network, so starting in version 62 Chrome will show the “Not secure” warning when users type data into HTTP sites.” – Chromium Blog
So what’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
Whenever you’re visiting the HTTP site, you sit at your browser and interact with data. However, how the data travels from Point A to Point B, or even if it travels at all, is none of HTTP’s concern.
It’s similar with HTTPS, BUT when security is a must, HTTPS differentiates one sender and receiver from another. The SSL actually encrypts the coming and going data. This means that SSL uses a mathematical algorithm to hide the true meaning of the data. The hope is that this algorithm is so complex it is either impossible or prohibitively difficult to crack, therefore making data submitted through HTTPS web page (contact details, credit card info) more secure.
How to avoid these warning messages?
- Host with a dedicated IP address.
- Buy a Certificate.
- Activate the Certificate.
- Install the Certificate.
- Update your site to use HTTPS.
If you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, Google treats this as a site move with a URL change. This can temporarily affect some of your traffic numbers.
See the site move overview page to learn more. Also, here is more information on Google Search Console recommendations about https.
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