In today’s world of cyber attacks, website security should be a big deal for EVERYONE who operates a website or blog.
Anymore, it doesn’t matter the size of your business – big business or simple blogger – the internet has become “wild west” territory and hackers are claiming stake on anything not locked down and secure.
In an effort to help force change, Google – the King of the online land – notified professional web developers that they were going to enforce that all viable websites install an SSL certificate. Whether intentional or not, it turns out that this great idea really had two benefits. One, it forced legit website owners to validate to their visitors that their site was safe by adding a layer of security between their site files and what delivered to the web browser (sort of a win-win). As a bonus, it also helped clear out some fake websites because cybercriminals won’t typically invest the money on something that would leave a trail on who they are.
While this is a great idea, and nearly 60% of all site owners have done their part to purchase an SSL; some of these same websites are still displaying as “not secure” because the SSL certificates were not properly installed.
It takes more than having your hosting provider install an SSL certificate to make your website display “Secure” in the browser.
The big deal is that starting July 2018, if Google doesn’t see your site as “Secure” it will now clearly display to your potential browsers as “NOT SECURE”. (See below)
My site doesn’t display secure, what do I do?
As more privacy and security discussions hit mainstream media, more people are beginning to pay attention to where they go and where they share data. This is a good thing, but if it’s your site that doesn’t display “secure” that means you could be losing visitors and potential revenue. (Yikes!) So what should you do to get this fixed? Here are some recommended steps you should take before the May 30, 2018 deadline.
- Make sure you have an SSL. These are typically purchased through your web host – but be careful – there are different kinds! You’ll need to know how many domains/sub-domains you have before making the purchase to make sure you get the right one. Also – your hosting company will also likely install it on the server for you, but – like I said earlier – that doesn’t mean it will display “Secure.”
- Before you or anyone makes changes, Backup your site! This is a standard precaution. I know with WordPress, one of the steps will literally – for just a few moments – break your site not allowing you access to the pages or login panel. This can be scary even for designers – so I always recommend a precautionary backup just to be safe.
- Reach out to your Web Designer for help. If you had a professional develop your web page, I would recommend contacting them and enlist their help to investigate. They may have simply forgotten to test your site files, or maybe your SSL was installed by the hosting company after they were done. Either way, it would likely be easier for them to track down the issue and fix vs. you driving yourself crazy with videos and hours of internet search. Often the fix is not a “beginner-level” issue; so save yourself the time.
- If you have a WordPress website and it is not displaying correctly, I strongly recommend you reach out to someone who knows how to dig into the technical details of WordPress to help you resolve. There are additional settings that need to be made in the files on the server so that the WordPress system acknowledges the SSL Certificate. Again – not a novice fix. We offer an SSL Validation Service that takes care of this for you, if interested – plus a few other cool security tricks! Keep in mind that whoever is doing this for you will need both access to your server files and your Dashboard, so choose someone you trust.
Pay attention when you browse. If you see businesses you frequent whose website is displaying “Not Secure” let them know! You’d be amazed how many business owners rarely visit their website. It’s typically not until someone brings a problem to their attention that they are aware – and that’s if they are nice enough to bother and not just click away to the next site.
If you have questions about SSL certificates or Website Security, we’d love to hear from you and explore how we might help clear some confusion. Feel free to use our Contact Form to submit a question or take advantage of our SSL Validation Service to make sure your site is “Secure” in Google’s world.
About the Author: Julia Eudy is the founder of Golden Services Group and experienced online marketing professional skilled in interpreting data analytics, writing compelling SEO-ready copy targeting engagement and creating a communication process to promote long-term referrals. She is also a STOP.THINK.CONNECT partner and can help you spot potential cyber-security threats and can help you limit risks for your business.