You may have seen emails from Google, or heard recently that Google Chrome will show security warnings on insecure sites. From October, websites that don’t have a secure connection will show a “Not secure” message on pages containing forms, when viewed in the Google Chrome browser. The message will also display on all pages when viewed in Incognito mode.

Google, because of their size, has become somewhat of an arbiter on internetty things. They are making this move to help beef up the security of the internet.

SSL certificates are what makes a site show up as https:// instead of http://. The s indicates that the site has an SSL certificate installed, and can therefore talk to your browser in an encrypted fashion. This means that if the conversation was intercepted somewhere on the internet by a third party, it could not be read. Only the web server and your browser can understand the conversation because of the encryption provide by the SSL certificate.

Up until now this has only ever been a requirement for sites that conduct monetary transactions, such as shopping sites. But the move by Google is extending that to any page that contains a form where you enter data – for example, a “Contact Us” page, a comment field in a blog, or an event registration page.

After October, your site will still work. The difference will be that, when viewed in a Chrome browser, the insecure page will be marked as such beside the address bar.

So it’s possibly time to consider investing in an SSL certificate to keep your visitors happy. Some hosting companies offer one for free, while others can charge up to $100 or more. The price is gradually coming down, though. The percentage of pages downloaded on the internet that are marked as secure is already around 60%.

An added benefit of having an SSL certificate is that Google will mark your site up in SEO terms because of the extra security. So check with your web hosting provider. Oculuma can also help.

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