Earlier this year we blogged about Google encouraging website owners to implement SSL. SSL allows your website to encrypt information over HTTPS sent between the visitor and your website. To encourage website owners to implement SSL, Google has given preference to websites served over HTTPS for a while now by ranking them higher in search.
Recently Google has started going with an enforcement approach, by blacklisting websites without HTTPS which ask for sensitive information like passwords and credit cards. In Chrome version 62, due for release this October, websites seeking any type of input without SSL will be flagged as “Not Secure”.
Will my website be effected?
It’s highly likely your website will be effected. The question you need to ask is does your website take any form of information from the user? This includes:
- Search bars
- Contact forms
- Login screens
- Registration pages
- Newsletter Sign-ups
- Payment screens
If so, you need to implement SSL to avoid Google warning users away from your website.
How do I get SSL?
Thankfully, most good hosts provide easy options for implementing SSL, thanks to freely available certificates issued by Let’s Encrypt.
Depending on your host, you may have a “one click” SSL installation option in your management interface. If so, just click it and follow the instructions.
If not, you can install a tool called Certbot which will procure and renew your Let’s Encrypt certificates. You’ll need to know how to SSH into your server to install and configure this. The Certbot page has guides for different types of servers.
Once you’ve installed the certificate:
- Update your site address, so your website serves over HTTPS by default.
- Update your sitemap via Google Search Console.
- You may get mixed content warnings, which means some resources on the page are still loading over HTTP. You can manually fix these by updating the links to the resources. If you’re using WordPress, there are plugins available which will automatically fix these errors for you.
If you need help with installing and configuring your SSL certificate, you can contact us here. We’ve updated over 15 websites over the last month. We can usually get your website serving over HTTPS super quick with minimal effort.