Google Chrome HTTP update, July 2018
Starting July 2018, Google will label all HTTP sites as ‘not secure’ – a key feature of the new Chrome 68 browser.
“Chrome’s new interface will help users understand that all HTTP sites are not secure, and continue to move the web towards a secure HTTPS web by default,” Chrome announced on February 8th.
Google has advocated for a safer web by encouraging websites to transition to HTTPS since 2014. Chrome’s latest update aims to educate users around secure and non-secure sites as part of its commitment to safety online.
Why Does This HTTP Update Matter
Today, a lot of our data ends up online – for both business and personal tasks. We bank online, purchase items anywhere on our smartphones, store data, send emails, and so on. A growing concern, as the amount of digital data increases, is how we protect that data.
When unencrypted information is submitted into or from your browser, that data is exposed, increasing its vulnerability to hacking, malware, and identity theft.
For instance, when purchasing an item online, you must submit a credit card number along with your billing information. All of this information, including your credit card number, is available to third parties if it is submitted through an unsecure website. The same goes for any information you are receiving on your browser.
Encrypting information protects your data during those transactions from malicious third parties. Security protocols, such as HTTPS, protect the information being sent or received through a browser.
More than ever, people are aware of hackers and the risks of the web. People need to be able to trust the websites they browse: they want to know that the sites are secure and that their personal information is safe. And people will be less likely to enter any data or request information from a website marked as ‘not secure’. Unsecure sites are also less likely to appear in search results, as HTTPS-hosted websites comprise over 70% of Google Page One rankings.
What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
You may have noticed the acronym located at the beginning of a URL when you are browsing a website – either HTTP or HTTPS. This stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP; the ‘S’ at the end standing for “secure”. Both of these are protocols that allow information to be passed between a website and your browser.
The difference between the two is that HTTPS is secure because it encrypts information being transferred. HTTP will simply pass the information along, unprotected, to any channel, making it easy to be intercepted by third parties.
You’ll notice when checking your bank account online or even this blog, for instance, there is an icon of a padlock in green with “Secure” written to the left of the URL. For HTTP, Google has begun showing an unlocked, open padlock, with the warning “Not secure”.
HTTPS is Preferred by Google + Users
In August 2014, Google announced that HTTP would have a minor impact on search rankings. It started as a lightweight factor to begin a transition to more secure sites under HTTPS. In October 2017, Google made another update in which any HTTP sites were marked as ‘not secure’ if users could enter data, or if the website was searched for and found in incognito mode in Chrome. Chrome has since published an update on HTTPS adoption:
“Progress last year was incredible, and it’s continued since then:
- Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
- Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
- 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default.
Google’s next step is to mark all HTTP sites as ‘not secure’ beginning July 2018.Chrome 68 update labelling HTTP sites as ‘not secure”
– Chrome Blog
What Does Google Chrome’s HTTP Update mean for Marketers + Website Managers
HTTPS Establishes Trust
HTTPS websites establish trust with consumers and search engines, and can improve overall digital performance. It secures a website and any information being transferred, which in turn protects the integrity of your website and the privacy / security of users. Securing a website with HTTPS also lets visitors know that the site is trustworthy and owned by a registered business.
HTTPS Creates Better User Experience
Beyond security, HTTPS creates a better user experience. According to Global Sign in 2016, 80% of respondents said they would abandon a purchase if the site was not HTTPS. Websites that are not secure are less likely to be clicked on or interacted with by users because Chrome very clearly calls out if a site is not secure.
HTTPS is good for your SEO
From an optimization standpoint, using HTTP will decrease a website’s ability to rank well. Google uses HTTP hosting as one of its over 200 ranking signals, but if 70% of Page One is already HTTPS, it’s clearly becoming an expectation from search engines and users alike.
Switching to HTTPS is Not Easy – Make a plan
Despite its benefits and importance, switching to HTTPS hosting is not a simple task. Discuss the implications with your development, IT, and digital marketing teams. Create a plan for HTTPS migration that ensures website content, visual presentation, and loading speed remain consistent or improve with the change.
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