Google’s crusade to make the internet more secure for users will pass another key milestone in July when the company releases the latest version of its web browser Google Chrome.
Chrome already protects web users from sites that use password and credit card fields and don’t have an SSL digital certificate, flagging up a warning message to advise that the site is not secure. You can find out more about SSL certification here, but in very simple terms, it provides visitors with the assurance that any personal information they type into the site will be instantly encrypted.
What will this mean for you?
While there’s no legal obligation to have an SSL certificate, and not having one doesn’t affect how a website functions, it’s been a necessity for e-commerce websites for a while now. It gives visitors the assurance they can trust a site and use it to shop with confidence, knowing their credit card details and any other personal data they share will be encrypted.
From July though, SSL will no longer just be a concern for businesses that take payment over the internet or use forms. Even if your website is only a ‘brochure site’ or a blog, when prospective customers visit it, Chrome will display a ‘Not Secure’ message.
Here’s what they’ll see:
You may not require a visitor to input any personal data, but in the light of public concern over internet security, it’s likely the message will cause them to consider your trustworthiness.
Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes – if you saw this message, would you feel totally confident about working with your business?
True, there are other web browsers out there, but Chrome is the biggest and it continues to expand its market share. According to statistics published by Statcounter Global, Google Chrome represented nearly 60% of the world browser market as at March 2018 (link to http://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share), leaving the other major browsers trailing in its wake .
Can you afford to risk dissuading 60% of your web traffic from opening your site?
Where leaders go, others are sure to follow, and there’s every reason to anticipate that other web browser companies will soon introduce similar policies, making this a standard protocol. And from here of course, the next natural step will be to mark non-SSL sites in the search results.
Our recommendation to anyone with a website is to make sure it has an SSL certificate installed before July. Purchasing a certificate is easy, but installing it on your website may require some technical knowledge. Adjustments may be needed to ensure the website continues to work as it should – so you’d be well advised to ask your hosting company or web developer to install it for you.
Check if your hosting company provides a free solution such as Lets Encrypt, a free certificate which renews automatically. If they don’t, you might want to consider using Cloudflare, a security solution that sits in front of your hosting platform. It’s not ideal, because it doesn’t encrypt everything between browser and server, but it does enough to prevent the ‘Not secure’ message from being displayed. If you choose this option, you’ll need to repoint your domain, so some technical know-how will still be needed.
The premium web hosting and support packages we provide ensure MMD clients have total peace of mind on all issues relating to their websites – including SSL certification. If you’d like to know more about the benefits of our proactive service, contact us now by sending a message or calling us on 0118 380 0131.