When it comes to websites and the way they are built, things can change from one moment to the next. From tools upgrades to revised policies, it is the job of any web designer to keep up with the new trends and changes coming up and let users know so every website we build stays functional and can be reached by anyone online.
Speaking of which, there’s a big change coming up this month. Google Chrome, the most popular Internet browser, has announced that starting January 2017 it will take measures to ensure that all websites are secure. But how will they do that? They will start demanding that all websites use a protocol that guarantees users a secure connection to your website; otherwise your site will be marked as non-secure and every person trying to get to it will receive a warning stating so.
While half of all the websites in the world already use a secure protocol, there’s a good number of sites that don’t because it wasn’t considered necessary before. If you recall from our 25 Web Design Definitions You Need to Know series, we learned a little about this topic. In tech lingo, Google is trying to push all sites that use an HTTP protocol into HTTPS.
While both HTTP and HTTPS stand for a set of rules for transferring requests (such as the one made by a visitor trying to access a website) you make from your internet browser to the server that hosts the website you’re trying to check, the difference is how they handle it. While HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) runs on a simpler set of rules and used to be enough for most websites, HTTPS uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to process those requests using an encrypted connection. This is preferred when a website needs to collect sensitive personal information from visitors, such as passwords or payment information.
The move, however, will be gradual in order to ensure everyone has enough time to switch to HTTPS. As of now, only sites running on HTTP and currently collecting passwords or credit card information will be marked as non-secure. In the future, though, Google plans on marking all sites using HTTP as non-secure when visited from Google Chrome. While this is currently not a requirement for other browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox, since Chrome is currently the most used web browser around the world, we encourage every person, organization or business with a website to make sure their site is accessible ─and secure─ for as many users as possible.
It is very likely that those websites who are deemed non-secure by not switching to HTTPS will be harder to find in web rankings, meaning that when you search for, say a carwash in your town, those sites that are using HTTPS will be displayed as the top search results, while those who work with HTTP will be falling back. This is completely avoidable by making the switch to HTTPS.
Here at Clicks and Mortar Websites we understand that this change may seem overwhelming or confusing for some website owners. If you wish to get ahead and make the change to HTTPS sooner rather than later, or if you want more information about it or check where your website currently stands, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re always glad to help!