What Causes a Site to Be Deemed ‘Not Secure’ By Google?

Submitted by Birdeye on Wed, 04/03/2019 - 9:00am

If you use Google Chrome, you may have noticed a new change to your browsing experience. Anytime you visit a website that doesn’t use HTTPS, a “Not Secure” warning appears next to the site’s URL. In some cases, this is even highlighted in red. Many other web browsers are following suit with similar warnings.

But what does this warning actually mean? More importantly for business owners, how does this affect your own website? Let’s take a closer look.

What the ‘Not Secure’ Warning Means

Google’s “Not Secure” warning appears on any website that uses HTTP protocol. Though this system has worked well for many years for running and connecting to web content, it lacks the basic security measures needed to keep others from accessing any information that is submitted on that page.

Without a security protocol, all data that is sent or received on a particular website (such as addresses or payment information) could be accessed by others viewing the requests. Those with malicious intent often use non-secured sites as a way of stealing credit card data or other confidential personal information.

Even if a site does not process payment information, hackers can still access HTTP sites to monitor what someone is looking at on their device. In some cases, unsecured content could be altered on a viewer’s browser to fool an unwary user into downloading malware.

Essentially, if a site uses basic HTTP protocol, it offers zero privacy for its visitors. For small businesses, this could be enough to keep web-savvy users from making a purchase through your online store. It could also result in customers having their data stolen by using your site.

Obviously, neither of these situations bodes well for the long-term digital success of your business.

How Site Owners Can Implement HTTPS

The transition to HTTPS has been going on for some time now. With HTTPS protocols on a website, all data transmitted and received on the site is kept secure and private. This is the same technology used by all major e-commerce retailers, and many web development systems now include HTTPS protocol as a standard or readily available feature.

If your site currently uses HTTP protocol, you need to make the change as quickly as possible to avoid missing out on potential customers or putting their data at risk. To transition to HTTPS, you will need to add an SSL or TLS certificate to your site. These security certifications encrypt all data transmissions so that they will be safe from malicious individuals. 

Your web host can typically help you find, activate, and install an SSL certificate that will work best for your site. As part of the transition to HTTPS, you will need to ensure that your entire site supports this mode so that users will always access the “secure version” of your content when they try to visit your site.

Parting Thoughts

Making the transition to HTTPS doesn’t just get rid of that red browser warning when customers visit your site. It can also improve your SEO rankings and give your site access to additional performance-enhancing features in select browsers. You have nothing to lose — and a lot to gain — by making the switch to a more secure site. Contact us today to get your SSL certificate forced for all web traffic to your site.