Did you know that as of October 2017, Google Chrome started marking websites as ‘not secure’ if they are not using an active security certificate? If your pet sitting website has online forms, like a contact form, newsletter signup or registration form, without a proper security certificate, your customers may begin seeing a warning that your site is not secure. It is vital to establish your pet business online as trustworthy and reliable. Therefore, it is time to secure your site to ensure yours and your customer’s data stay safe from online threats.
What is a security certificate?
A security certificate is essential to protect your data on the internet. These digital certificates are needed to enable HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) on your website. Many HTTPS pages use secure protocols to encrypt communications, called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). SSL protocols use two ‘keys’ to encrypt communications, a ‘public’ key and a ‘private’ key. Anything encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted by the private key and vice-versa. The private key remains securely situated on your web server. All Barketing Solutions dog walking websites are equipped with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate to ensure maximum security of your data.
How does HTTPS work?
An HTTPS connection is requested when navigating to a website with an SSL certificate. The certificate is sent to the browser to initiate an ‘SSL handshake’. Here the public and private keys are exchanged. A secure connection is then established between you and the website. When a secure HTTPS connection is made, a padlock icon appears in the browser address bar with the word ‘secure’. This shows your visitors that your website is safe and that their information is protected.
HTTP vs HTTPS
Communication sent over an HTTP connection is registered in plain text. Plain text can be read by any hacker that breaks the connection between your website and the browser. This is dangerous when you are collecting sensitive information like credit card details. An HTTP connection is also threatening when collecting personal information like email addresses. There is a chance these email address can be exposed to spammers and hackers. When a hacker breaks an HTTPS connection, they can’t access the data because it is encrypted. Establishing an HTTPS connection will ensure that all communications are encrypted and data transfer is managed safely.
Should I secure my pet business website?
If your website is already using SSL, you are all set! For new sites, we recommend jumping on the HTTPS train as soon as possible. Let’s Encrypt SSL is free, and the risks are low. For existing sites, it is a lot tougher as site-wide changes carry the risk that issues may appear. If it is time for a new and upgraded website, that is the perfect time to install your SSL certificate. If you switch your current website to HTTPS, you will need to make sure that your redirects are setup properly and that your site is forcing HTTPS. You must re-submit your HTTPS sitemap to search engine and update your Google Analytics.
Let’s Encrypt SSL
Let’s Encrypt SSL provides digital certificates needed to enable HTTPS for websites, for free, in the most user-friendly way they can. They want to create a more secure and privacy-respecting Web. Let’s Encrypt was established to create a more secure and privacy-respecting Web. Contact your webmaster to get your Let’s Encrypt SSL installed.
Google takes security very seriously and is becoming a more important ranking factor in their updated search algorithm. Google is cracking down on websites with any text input fields. They are requiring an SSL certificate to avoid being labeled with a “Not Secure” warning in the address bar. There are also rumors of Google blacklisting non-HTTPS websites. So, make the switch sooner rather than later. As a warning, you may see an initial drop in ranking during the time Google crawls the new HTTPS version of your website because you are essentially replacing your website URL. However, HTTPS will help you in the long run, and it could become a more significant factor in search engine ranking than it already is.
SSL does not mean the website is secure, but HTTPS keeps the visitor’s information secure in transit. Keep your website updated and maintained to avoid your site from being hacked.
Erika Godwin is the President of Barketing Solutions and the Co-Founder and CMO of ProPet Software, an industry-leading kennel management software. Erika has over 8 years of experience with WordPress and graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a BS, Business Administration- Marketing and Management.