The Basics Of HTTPS & SSL Certificates

3 minute read

Are you ready for Google Chrome 68?

Google has certainly had a busy year so far with search engine updates and new releases aplenty and even the recent lawsuits don’t seem to come close to halting this digital giant as they launch their latest web browser, Google Chrome 68. 

Google Chrome 68 seems to put an end to Google’s lengthy war against insecure and spammy sites, with the new browser warning users if the websites they are visiting are not being served over a secure HTTPS connection. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Google strive towards a more secure online experience, as Google’s search engine actively penalises sites without SSL certificates and praises those who flaunt the green-padlock. 

But, what does it all mean? What is HTTPS and why does Google endorse it? Let’s take a look… 

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS, or Hyperlink Transfer Protocol Secure, is an extension of the previously popular, HTTP.

You’ll notice that on the majority of websites nowadays, the URL will begin with ‘https://', this means that essentially your connection to that website’s server is encrypted and private.

What is the benefit of HTTPS?

An encrypted connection to a server means any data sent to it (including sensitive data such as passwords) will not be readable by anyone eavesdropping (know as a man-in-the-middle attack).

A real-life example of this would be when a user interacts with a virtual checkout: If their connection is encrypted over HTTPS, an attacker would not be able to view that page nor access that users sensitive information, whereas if that website was served over HTTP and not encrypted, an attacker would be able to view that users personal information, leaving their details vulnerable. 

How do I know if my connection is secure and served over HTTPS?

It’s easy to notice if your connection to a website is secure. As mentioned before, you should see ‘https://' at the start of that websites URL. 

Your internet browser should also give you visual indications if your connection is secure, such as displaying a padlock before the URL of the site you are trying to visit, indicating that your connection to that website is secure:

Website with SSL served over a HTTPS connection featuring a green secure padlock

Alternatively, you may see an (i) in place of a padlock if your connection is insecure:

An unsecure website without a valid SSL certificate, served over HTTP

Our advice would be to be cautious of websites served over HTTP (http://). Visiting a site served over HTTP doesn’t mean you are in danger, but it does leave you vulnerable to attackers trying to steal your sensitive information. 

Google Chrome 68 and HTTPS...

Google Chrome 68, as previously mentioned, strives to make sure that you are aware if your connection to a website is not-secure by actively warning you that your data could be intercepted. In theory, this should mean fewer virtual-thefts and malicious activity online than ever before. 

However, there are some implications, for example, if your site is still served over HTTP users may be less inclined to browse or even visit your site and this is especially true if you own a shopfront - webmasters of these sites should expect a potential decline in users and search engine rank. 

If your website doesn’t feature HTTPS, feel free to get in contact with us and we’ll make sure your website is ready for a more secure online environment. 

HTTPS is included as standard for all of our support clients. Ready to upgrade? Contact us now!

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By Matt on 30 July, 2018