If your site is not using HTTPS, it will be one of many soon to be picked on by Google Chrome. Google’s browser will start to alert users if they click on a site which Chrome deems to be insecure.

What does HTTPS do?

The HTTPS protocol adds an extra layer of protection to a website, securing its communication over the Internet. This extra layer of security comes through encryption, creating a secure connection between the user and the domain over an unsecured network. This secure connection blocks any ‘middle men’ from accessing the connection which could lead to data theft.

HTTPS has been around for over a decade. Until more recently, its main use had been for emails, payment transactions and other sensitive data. As Internet security has become more of a concern over the last few years, calls have been made for this protocol to be used throughout all websites.

So what will Chrome actually do?

Chrome currently only praises sites using HTTPS, displaying a green padlock in the URL bar, so users can see that it is secure. The new update will mean that websites that remain using HTTP will show a red “X”, warning users that the site is still unencrypted.

Another way to see what security is in place is to look at the beginning of a URL.

Websites using HTTPS will begin: “https://”

Websites using the HTTP will begin: “http://”

Will my website be removed for not switching to HTTPS?

HTTP websites will still work through Chrome and Google has stated that they will not remove them.

We do recommend website owners consider switching to HTTPS, as it is not an expensive task. Many providers now offer free or cheap server certificates. The Let’s Encrypt project makes it easier for all websites to obtain free certificates that provide the encryption needed to get your green padlock.