Google’s Change With SSLs in January 2017 and Why You Need One

Google SSL ranking rules

Google’s change with SSLs directly affects website viewing. Starting in January 2017 (Chrome 56), Google introduced a new security measure in the Chrome browser that warns users on non-SSL sites that the web page is not secure.  

This change is a great step in moving towards a more secure web! But with this change, it does require you to think differently about SSL for your own site.

Traditionally, an SSL certificate is needed for websites that take payment, login information or any other personal information. That is still true, but this change will move all sites to having an SSL certificate.

As for now, the warning only appears on non-encrypted pages that collect login or payment information, but could eventually be expanded to issue warnings on all HTTP pages.

Chrome not secure message

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.

To see if a site has an SSL certificate, look for the green icon and “https” in the URL bar.

https secure image

What does this change look like in your browser?

Prior to January 2017, when you loaded a non-SSL website, you would see a “white page icon” next to the URL bar. Now you will see the “i icon” next to the URL that says your site is not secure. Below is an example of a non-SSL website with the “i icon” and the message a user sees if they click that icon.

Google Security Warning

information message from Chrome

There are three different icons that may be displayed next to your URL. The biggest change is now every site without an SSL certificate is marked as “not secure”. These are 3 different icons that could show:

different chrome secure icons

How to check if your site is secure:

  1. Open a page in Chrome on your computer.
  2. To check a site’s security, to the left of the web address, look at the security status:

    different chrome secure icons

  3. To see the site’s details and permissions, click the icon. At the top of the panel, you’ll see a summary  of how private Chrome thinks the connection is.

    With this new change, if you don’t have an SSL certificate, your site should display the “i icon” with the message “your connection to this site is not secure”.

    If you already have an SSL certificate, you should have the green icon. If you have the red warning icon, contact your hosting or website administrator to get an SSL certificate or to fix your SSL if it’s not working properly.

Why purchase an SSL?

  1. Site Security – First of all, this new change from Google should make everyone want to purchase an SSL certificate. You don’t want your users going to your site and thinking their information is not safe.
  2. With this change, Google will be giving a minor organic search-ranking boost to sites with SSL. That means by following their rules, they will give you an increase in your SEO.
  3. If you don’t have one, Google will decrease your site’s organic search rankings! If you don’t follow their rules, you will see negative impacts on your site’s search engine ranking.
  4. You need to start thinking long term! In the future, Google will be moving to a more direct message when sites don’t have an SSL, so it’s best to get one now.

How to get an SSL:

The best action to take is to contact your hosting company or website administrator and get an SSL certificate for your website. Once the SSL is installed, you’ll see the green lock icon next to your URL bar and you’ll be all set.

You will also want to ask for your website administrator to see what kind of SSL they recommend for your site’s needs.

If you would like to know more about SSLs, please contact the Courtland Consulting sales team. We can help you find the SSL that’s perfect for your website and our development team can get it installed for you!