Heads up: Google is getting even more serious about HTTPS. Find out what this means for you and your website, and steps you can take to make sure your site is ready for their policy changes!
In the past, Google has already started to incentivize moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS. For example, Google has already been using HTTPS as a ranking signal, and in January 2017, Google Chrome has started to mark HTTP pages as “Not secure” whenever the page includes credit card or password fields. Now, Google is taking even more steps to discourage HTTP pages.
Beginning in October 2017, Google’s internet browser, “Chrome,” will display a “Not secure” warning when users enter data of any kind on an HTTP page. Google Chrome will also show a “Not secure” warning when users visit an HTTP page in incognito mode, in order to prevent visitors from feeling a false sense of security when they use incognito mode.
Eventually, Google plans to label ALL HTTP pages as “Not secure,” although the exact date for when this will happen has not been decided. Until then, it is best to prepare your site as soon as possible so you won’t be affected by their policy change.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It is essentially the secure version of HTTP. With HTTPS, the communication between your browser (for example, Chrome) and the website are encrypted by using a secured socket layer (SSL). This can prevent eavesdropping by hackers, and helps to keep any data collected from your site visitors safe.
How will my site be affected by Google’s policies on HTTPS?
-If you use HTTP and your website allows any text input from users (such as contact forms, login panels, or even a search bar), Google Chrome will show a “Not Secure” warning when users enter input on your site. This may cause potential visitors not to trust your website, leading to a decrease in traffic or higher bounce rate.
-Without HTTPS, your search ranking can be negatively impacted, as Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal. Furthermore, if visitors do not trust your site, this can negatively affect your SEO, and ultimately, your website traffic and performance.
-As already implemented by Google Chrome, if you have an HTTP web page that transmits credit cards, it will be marked as “Not secure.” Again, this can deter visitors from trusting your website, and can negatively impact your sales.
Note that Chrome will mark pages as “Not secure” in the browser bar. They plan to make the warnings even more prominent in the future, as HTTPS becomes more of the norm.
How can I migrate to HTTPS?
Moving your website to HTTPS is not as complicated as it used to be, as HTTPS is becoming more common. Here are 2 methods that we can suggest:
Method 1 (Manual Method):
The manual method is to purchase an SSL certificate. With Doteasy, it is also required to have a dedicated IP in order to install the SSL certificate, as this will help to prevent issues with older browsers and devices. You can install the SSL certificate in the cPanel. (Of course, Doteasy can take care of this entire process for you!) The last step is to make sure that your website is updated to use HTTPS. Be sure to redirect your website pages to HTTPS by changing the code in the .htaccess file. If you don’t have an .htaccess file, you can create it in the cPanel file manager. If you need any help, feel free to give Doteasy a call, and our team can help you with these steps!
Take a look at our articles that explain SSL and HTTPS even further!
Method 2 (Automatic Installation with Business Hosting Plans):
For a cost and time effective option, you can consider a Doteasy Business Hosting plan. The business plans include both SSL and a dedicated IP for free, and SSL is automatically installed for all domains with your account. ALL domains associated with your account (including subdomains and add-ons!) have SSL included automatically at no extra cost. If you manage multiple domains, this may be a great time to consolidate all of your domains under one business hosting plan, as SSL certificates are included for all of them.
You can find more information about other advanced resources included with the business plans here.
Should I move my site to HTTPS?
The answer is a resounding YES. While in the past, HTTPS was commonly used for online stores and sites that allowed payment transactions, it is now becoming an essential for any standard website. In addition to Google’s policies, HTTPS makes your website more secure for you and your visitors, earns your customers’ trust, and overall, can help your site performance, ranking and traffic. Along with Google’s increasingly proactive stance to a secure web, HTTPS is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity.