When you are browsing the web, have you ever noticed the little lock icon that often shows up next to the URL at the top?
Depending on your browser it will look slightly different, but here are a couple of examples.
URLs starting with https:// are secure, or encrypted. Sometimes, a website will not have this lock and will instead be noted as ‘Not Secure’. The URL for these sites will simply show http:// and do not include the ‘s’.
While this was historically only really required for sites that used personal information, such as passwords or payment information, it is quickly becoming the accepted standard for all websites.
If I’m not entering any of my personal information, why does it matter?
When you are browsing a site that only has http:// at the front, or a non-secure site, there is no way to know if you are actually looking at the correct server that the owner has configured. Regular HTTP sites just assume that they are connected to where they are supposed to be.
This is extremely important for any site that has a login, such as online banking and shopping, where you could be redirected to an impostor website and unknowingly sharing your personal information or credit card number with the ‘bad guys’ if the site is not secure.
Any information transferred between your computer and a regular HTTP site is also visible to anyone eavesdropping on your wifi, your ISP, etc. because the information is not encrypted.
A secured HTTPS site, on the other hand, checks the security certificate of the site you are browsing, making sure that it is the actual site that was intended. Additionally, the information transferred between your computer and the website is encrypted, so people can’t view it. This is important for privacy.
Of course, HTTPS isn’t a perfect system either, but at a basic level it is MUCH more secure than simple HTTP.
Lastly, while you can’t look up an official list of the features that Google uses to rank websites, there are definitely some key factors at play, and HTTPS, or having a secured site is definitely on that list.
What Do I Do if my Site is Not Secure?
If your site is not secure, you will need to get an SSL certificate in order to make it secure. This is usually available from your hosting service and may or may not be included as part of your package.
Our premium hosting package includes a shared SSL to ensure that your site is secured and will not be downgraded by Google or other search engines.
For more information on your specific situation, you can contact us here or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can assist you in getting your site secured.