In trying to make the internet safer and more secure, Google–the world’s most popular search engine–is officially downgrading insecure websites from search results. And recently, the company started indicating which sites are and aren’t secure.
Know What’s Secure
To know if a site is secure, just take a look at the search bar to the left of the URL in your browser.
Sites that are protected by an SSL certificate, enabling encryption between the server and your browser to keep unwanted eyes out and protect you from tampering, show as “Secure” with a lock icon.
Know What’s Not Secure
Sites without these protections don’t feature this icon, and clearly state “Not Secure”.
As of July 2018, Google took it one step further by demoting unencrypted sites’ search rank. The move will incentivize developers to protect users’ data, privacy, and internet experience by encrypting their websites.
HTTPS encryption helps protect all of the sensitive data, like passwords, credit card numbers, and emails. Without encryption, it could be possible for hackers to steal data, masquerade as another site, or monitor your web traffic in transit.
Securing your site is typically quite easy. All you’ll need is an SSL certificate, otherwise known as a “digital certificate,” that encrypts communications between the browser and server.
Not All SSL Certificates Are Equal
However, not all SSL certificates are created equal. If you’re not handling super-sensitive customer data, free services like CloudFlare and Let’s Encrypt make it easier than ever to protect your visitors. But if your hosting provider doesn’t offer any of these options, it might be time to shop around.
The takeaway: encryption not only protects visitors’ privacy and trust, but also fundamentally puts people at the heart of your digital presence. Better to be safe and seen.