Updated July 30, 2020, 12:27 pm
For you and many other internet users, it can come as a bit of a surprise to be browsing online, visiting all your usual sites, when suddenly there is a warning—a red indicator in the address bar stating that the website is not secure.
Well, there is no need to panic just yet, although it is important to be aware of the changes taking place. What you are seeing isn’t necessarily an indication that you have found your way to a dangerous website, as it is instead likely the result of Google’s latest update to Chrome, known as Chrome 68.
So, what has happened to make this site—perhaps even one that you have visited daily—suddenly be flagged as not secure?
You may have noticed over the past many months that sites that had previously been marked as HTTP have now changed to HTTPS, with the added S standing for secure. This indicates that all communication between your browser and the website are encrypted as an added measure of safety for users. This is also accompanied by an image of a small green padlock.
While the padlock has been around for a while for HTTPS sites, it was once used predominantly for sites that offer confidential transactions, like online banking and shopping. About two years ago, Google announced that Chrome browser windows would mark any sites not encrypted with HTTPS as “not secure.” As of July 24, 2018, Google has made these changes official for all Chrome users. (Google has posted this on their Chrome blog.)
Google gave webmasters six months to become compliant, and now when you browse with Chrome 38, all HTTP sites will be marked as “not secure,” with HTTPS written in red and struck through, as well as a red triangle containing an exclamation mark.
It is highly recommended to upgrade your website to HTTPS, even if your site does not receive payment or confidential information, as the mere appearance of the “not secure” warning will likely serve as a deterrent to a large segment of your audience, who may equate “not secure” with “actively dangerous” and choose to navigate away.
For obvious reasons, that is something that you will want to avoid.
Depending on the size of your site, moving from HTTP to HTTPS may be a fairly sizable task, though you will find that the benefits from the peace of mind you are offering your audience will outweigh any difficulties you will encounter.
Take a look at the following resources that can guide you through this process, whether for your own, or a client’s website.
- HTTP to HTTPS: An SEO’s guide to securing a website
- A comprehensive guide to SSL certificates
- Using the Mixed Content audit tool in Lighthouse