Web standards are always changing. Sometimes our perfectly wonderful websites get 'broken' because browsers update and drop features that they previously had.
For example, Flash Player was once a big part of how many websites displayed graphics and video. It's been on the way out for years, and now (at the end of 2020) it will be completely unsupported by web browsers and even the creator itself, Adobe. So all the websites still using Flash will have to transition to another way to show video.
Over the last few years, more and more sites have begun using the HTTPS protocol to encrypt and secure site data. More secure than the traditional HTTP protocol, HTTPS prevents several types of spying and hacking from stealing your data.
In 2018, the Google Chrome web browser started displaying a 'Not secure' message for any site that does NOT use the secure protocol. Sites that never did install an SSL certificate, or aren't using it correctly, get flagged in this way, and run the risk of scaring off users.
Also, Google has downgraded HTTP sites for not being secure. This means that if you have one of these 'Not secure' messages showing in the address bar of your website, people are probably having a harder time finding you in Google searches.
If you click on this little 'Not secure' message, you will see a more detailed message pop up:
How do I fix it?
Fortunately, this is usually an easy fix. For most websites, it's a matter of...
- Installing an SSL Certificate with your web host
Many web hosts will now include this service automatically. You may already have one installed.
- Changing all the internal and external links, data and images to use the https:// instead of http://
Depending on your system, this could be very easy or very time consuming. A good web developer should be able to take a quick look and let you know the size of the job.
- Testing the site
Click around on every page and make sure that the address bar now has the lock icon:
When clicked, the lock icon will show a more detailed pop up that looks like this:
Is this really necessary?
Yes. It is.
You don't want to be downgraded by Google.
You definitely don't want your users to NOT to send that contact form or buy that product
And you ABSOLUTELY don't want to endanger your users and have their email addresses or other information being stolen by spies.
Get it done now!
P.S. If you need help, get in touch with us. Often this is a low-cost fix, and can sometimes be done for as little as $40.