SSL Connection Error - What it means to Your website?

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One small Google Chrome change that could severely impact your website

In a world where tech is always changing, and cyber security is a daily concern, it's no wonder why our friends at Google have opted to penalize website owners who do not have SSL certificates.

Need a refresher on what an SSL certificate is? SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates are an optional feature that can be purchased to create an encrypted connection between your site visitor's web browser and your web server. This allows information, like credit cards, social security numbers, and other private data, to be transferred without the fear of tampering or interference.

So, what's changed?

Previously, Chrome added an unassuming exclamation mark to the left side of a website address that indicated the site you were viewing did not have an SSL certificate in place.

SSL security for website

Not so bad, right?

Now, Google Chrome 56 users will be greeted with a glaring red caution sign and the words "Not secure."

SSL security for website

"Studies show that users do not perceive the lack of a 'secure' icon as a warning, but also that users become blind to warnings that occur too frequently," says Emily Schechter with the Chrome Security Team. This new giant red flag to your site users is hard to ignore. Which is exactly what the Chrome security team is seeking to accomplish; to help keep Chrome users safe while browsing and purchasing online.

Who is affected?

Sites without a current SSL certificate that collect private information need to be the most concerned about Chrome 56. If your site requires user logins, collects credit card information, or any information that can be deemed as private or personal, you need an SSL certificate, period.

Sites with mixed SSL's (where some of a site's pages use SSL, but not all) will also be affected. For instance, if you have a website that has a page for users to pay a bill by credit card and is secured by SSL, but the rest of the site is left unsecured, Google will still include the "Not secure" warning on all pages that are not covered under an SSL certificate.

Even if your site is simply for informational purposes and does not collect private data, the fear that your site is flagged as "not secure" is enough to send your users elsewhere. Not to mention, with Chrome having over 47% of the desktop browser market share, this should be a reason for all website owners to act.

What do you do next?

Don't worry. Purchasing an SSL certificate is a relatively easy task. Implementing and choosing the right one (yes, there are multiple types of SSL certificates) can be a little bit tricky. However, with the right guidance, you should be able to easily implement and ensure your site is compliant. Look to your domain host or your web team for assistance.

We feel it's important to note that having an SSL certificate is not a guarantee for site security. Even with this extra layer of security, your site is still at risk for Malware, phishing, and other threats. Make sure your site is up to date and is being monitored for potential threats.

Need help? Reach out to our Support and Maintenance Team today for step by step assistance, and information about some of our other site-saving security services.

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