Whats all this about SSL Certs and Http / HTTPS on web addresses?

Short Version:-

Of course you want to get the most visitors to your website. You don’t want to be excluded from google searches on smartphones. You don’t want visitors to see warning messages that might drive visitors away from your website…..

To avoid these situations We strongly recommend that your website is

a) Responsive – i.e. that it works fluidly across all screen sizes from Desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. This is done by building your website in a manner that presents differently to different screen sizes, so the website visitor has a very positive experience no matter what size screen they are looking at.

b) HTTPS – Adding the S for “Secure” to your web address will both improve your ranking and avoid warnings such as “this site may not be safe” when visitors arrive. Adding the “S” requires a secure socket layer that encrypts data transferring to and from your site from visitors and adds authentication to your website that says it is safe for visitors.

Longer Version….

From 1996 to 2014 it was all about growing businesses into deciding that they should have a web presence. Some did it just to be there ( in case they might miss something ) and very slowly others took to a web presence and grew their effort to maximise its effectiveness.

Recent History

In the last 2 years – the biggest driver of web usage has been the “smartphone” which effectively makes everyone connected to the web ( either in their pocket or their purse).

Amazon , Ebay, Netflix and Youtube have been strong drivers of bringing more and more users online and Google has made this very easy for all visitors online to quickly get to what they want to find.

Today – This is how Google sees the world….

The focus has now changed from “just having a website” to delivering the best possible service to the web user. The focus has moved away from the website owner to delivering a high quality service to the person browsing.

Two particular recent steps by Google show clearly that that is what is driving them in this direction.

First: Smartphone Friendly– up to 2 years ago very few websites were “Smartphone friendly” ( or Responsive to give it its correct name). When you viewed a website on a smartphone it was all over the place, you had to scroll left and right and up and down – just to see the contents of one page and it was a real pain.

Even today many websites continue to be like this – and Google have decided that their “customers” ( the people searching google for something) – deserve better than this.

So Google introduced a rule they are fast implementing – “If your website is not smartphone friendly ( i.e. responsive) then your website will not be included in search responses on smartphones! With over 65% of all searches taking place on smartphones – this is a big impact on all websites. The positive for the person “googling” is that they see quality websites that are easy to read and follow – when they search on smartphones and they have a good experience ( and a natural follow-on – is they are happy to continue to use google to help them with their enquiries). The bad news is that if your website is not “responsive” then most likely you won’t appear in any searches on smartphones.

Second: Websites must be secure for Visitors

Yes – not alone google chrome but other browsers are already popping up warning messages when a URL with HTTP: is clicked on – e.g. “Do you want to proceed, This site may not be safe etc.”

For website owners this is a big negative – someone is just about to visit your website and they are now being warned away, because you are HTTP and not HTTPS! Why.

Again the focus is on the visitor first and the website owner second. When searches are done on Google, they wish to ensure the websites they are advising as most appropriate to your search – ARE SAFE!. Yes, Google and other browsers are now focussed on the visitor – and saying to you as the website owner “IF you don’t care enough about your website to make it HTTPS, then you don’t care enough about your potential clients”.

For websites that are just information – this appears at first to be a bit strong but adding the “S” to HTTP adds a secure socket layer to ensure data is encrypted and therefore protects the website visitor. This matters when they are entering personal details and other information in relation to credit cards or payments.

Now – the bottom line is that if you do not have a HTTPS on your website – visitors are likely to reduce due to warnings and lower rankings.

If you do add HTTPS ( using a Secure Socket Layer) then you are seen to respect your potential website visitors and you are rewarded by Google and the browsers by not having warnings showing to visitors.

WHAT ARE SSL CERTIFICATES

SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organisation’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. … A domain name, server name or hostname.

As Chrome is fast becoming the defacto web browser – this is what happens on Chrome browser.

When you go to a site that uses HTTPS (connection security), the website’s server uses a certificate to prove the website’s identity to browsers, like Chrome. Anyone can create a certificate claiming to be whatever website they want.

To help you stay on safe on the web, Chrome requires websites to use certificates from trusted organisations.

On Chrome browser, you will now see to the left of the web address:-

  •  Secure

  • Info  Info or Not secure

  • Dangerous  Not secure or Dangerous

Talk to Handyweb today and we will report back to you on how your website complies with the above. Email your query to Support@handyweb.ie – including your website name and we will get back to you