Google does it again: the latest update prioritises security using SSL

Google have recently announced that they will be placing increasing focus on ‘secure’ websites in the near future. The next update is likely to prioritise secure sites in the Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs), meaning that non-secure sites may well see a decrease in their rankings. This is part of a global drive to mitigate the vulnerabilities found within many websites.

2016 has also seen an increase in high-profile website hacks (TalkTalk, Yahoo, Linked In, to name a few). 2017 is going to see a continuation, with hackers choosing to target smaller company websites which are very often insecure.

So, what can I do about it?” you may ask.

The answer is relatively simple. Your website can be made secure using an SSL Certificate. This will encrypt all traffic passing between a user’s computer and your website, thereby protecting your customers and your own admin. access details. Any sensitive data is kept hidden from potential hackers. This might include usernames, emails and passwords, but also credit card details, contact forms, and booking forms. So it makes sense to install a certificate to protect your users, and also yourself from hackers.

Your next question might be “What is this going to cost me?

That depends on the type of certificate you want. There are various levels of certification available, through a number of Certificate Authorities (CAs) such as Thawte, VeriSign, GloablSign and Let’s Encrypt.

If you have a high-profile or e-commerce website, and you want to convey a higher level of trust, then we’d recommend that you have an OV SSL Certificate. OV SSL is subject to additional domain and business level checks (when compared to a Basic or Standard SSL Certificate). With OV SSL, our SSL partner GlobalSign investigates both your domain registration and business credentials to ensure the company applying for the OV SSL is who they say they are. This in turn gives your site visitors increased trust in your website.
Please enquire with us if you are interested in this type of Certificate.

However, for most websites not selling products on-line, then a Basic certificate will be more then adequate. We provide a free Basic certificate with all of our annual hosting packages. Like Google, we believe that security is of paramount importance, so we provide the service to our customers for free.

UPDATE – late January 2017: Since we wrote the above post, there has been another update. The makers of browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have announced that newer versions of their browsers will warn users if they are accessing an insecure website. So if your website uses ‘http://’, the user will get a message telling them that they are using an website which is not trustworthy. Some users may understandably be put off by this!