Google Chrome: secure vs. non-secure websites

Google Chrome: secure vs. non-secure websites

Google Chrome changes the way it handles and displays secure vs. non-secure websites

As you read this on our Skills Academy website you will see on the top left of your (Chrome) browser window a green padlock, the word 'Secure', and the letters 'https' - all in green. Some other websites will look differently: no padlock, no 'Secure', and no green highlighting. So what's the difference?

Some technical stuff first: HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which in essence is the way data files (text, images, videos etc) are transferred from a server to your own browser, which in turn then displays these to you as a website. The same protocol in reverse is used if you fill out anything on that website, i.e. your email or and personal info on a shopping site. The transfer of your personal data is not protected, so a for example a hacker could potentially intercept this info and steal your data.

HTTPS (the one in green) adds a layer of encryption to the file transfer, making it virtually impossible for anyone to snoop what you are viewing, and what info you type in. You probably guessed it, the extra 'S' in HTTPS stands for secure. We use it to make sure that if you register for one of our courses no one can steal your info.

The way Google Chrome will show how secure a website is will change soon. By September this year the green 'Secure' will disappear and only the padlock will remain, later even that will go.

Google Chrome: secure vs. non-secure websites - Fig.1

Google Chrome: secure vs. non-secure websites - Fig.1 Image credit: Google, Inc.

Instead all websites that are not secure will show a blinking red warning 'Not secure' to the user, especially is a user is required to fill in any forms on that website.

Google Chrome: secure vs. non-secure websites Fig.2

Google Chrome: secure vs. non-secure websites Fig.2 Image credit: Google, Inc.

If you have or manage a website (personal & business) you need to upgrade your web hosting to secure hosting, or else visitors to your website will be spooked by the blinking 'Not secure' and leave. You need to do this before October this year before Chrome version 60 is released.

What to do?

  1. If you have an existing hosting provider (under contract) ask them about adding an SSL certificate to your hosting. This should not cost you more than RM100 per year. If they charge you a lot more than that consider changing hosting providers.
  2. If you are out of contract or plan to set-up new website hosting choose a hosting provider that includes the SSL certificate in the hosting. We are hosting this website for US$3.95 per month including the SSL Certificate, you can check it out  HERE. This also includes a free .com domain name.
  3. If you have Shell access to your hosting platform (rare!) you can install a free basic SSL Certificate from Let's Encrypt (click the link for documentation - Warning: very technical geek stuff). NOTE: we don't use this, we use a paid enhanced SSL Certificate on this website.