Google search, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have made significant changes that will affect all website owners:
1. http to https
http is the computer language of the internet. The 's' of https simply stands for Secure. Without this extra layer of security, anything you look at, download or send over the internet may be read, intercepted and even replaced with scams by hackers or competitors, affecting both you and your clients. Most organisations that handle payments and personal data, such as banks and the Government already use this technology but, in light of global developments, Google is now impelling everyone with a website to switch by offering preferential treatment to https sites.
2. Preferential Search Ranking
When a user searches online for a service or information, Google uses complex algorithms to determine which websites it should recommend that will best serve the user. Presented with the choice of recommending an unsecure http site or a competitor's safe and secure https site, it is clear that an http website can expect to quickly plummet in Google's search rankings.
3. Warding Off Customers
Take a look in the address bar of your browser – can you see a padlock icon? If not, then the website you are on is not secure. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are now escalating their visual warnings to users. This will include high-visibility alerts such as red warning triangles appearing on http websites when a user attempts to fill in a form or make a purchase. Would you stay on a website covered with red warning triangles? Neither would your potential customers.
4. Introducing http/2
With technological progression comes an improved version of http – http/2. This new standard not only requires a secure connection to work but, as it soon becomes adopted across the board, powerful features such as geolocation will be unavailable without a secure connection. Since your website will need to be secure in order to implement http/2, there is considerable pressure to become https compliant as soon as possible and not lose any advantage you may currently enjoy.
5. Slow downs
Best coding practices and optimization that may have helped the performance of your website in the past will not be up to the new standard of http/2. Therefore, along with security warnings and preferential ranking issues, speed and efficiency will also become an issue for http website owners, as competitors' fully-optimised http/2 sites become easier to use and work much faster than their own, disadvantaged websites.
You will need to install a digital certificate on your web server. Your hosting company will do this for you on request but you may be charged depending on the level of security your website will require. It usually takes only about an hour to obtain a certificate and currently the service may even be free, however, with rapidly increasing security requirements, future costs are highly likely to more reflect the level of security being offered. Once you have your certificate, you need to setup a redirect from http to the https server which can be done using .htaccess files that are placed in the root directory of your website. You will need to ensure that all path names in files are updated from ‘http’ to ‘https’ otherwise images or stylesheets will not load correctly.
If this seems like it’s a bit above your level of expertise, OCM will be happy to take care of this task on your behalf for a one-off fee.
If you feel that you have the computer skills to carry out this procedure yourself, or you may know someone that you can trust who has the required expertise, then we encourage you to make the switch to a secure server sooner rather than later. Current Oracle customers – we will be happy to assist you with the login details to your website servers. When you do well, we do well, so we want your website and business to perform at its best now and in the future!
OCM can offer you a FREE review of your website to make sure it is prepared for the future and will perform well against your competitors' websites (T&Cs apply). We can advise you on the following areas:
To organise your FREE review, please email: email@example.com or call Scott on: 01702 393838 today – there's no time to lose!