Google has been campaigning for years to push all websites to become secure by default, so their latest announcement will not come as too much of a shock. From July 2018, Google will begin to warn Chrome users if a site is insecure. This change will coincide with the release of the latest Chrome 68 browser.
It is estimated that more than 50 percent of people across the world use the Google Chrome browser, so the announcement is likely to have a significant impact on many websites. It is expected that the new prominent warning could negatively affect many sites, through increased bounce rates, reduced advertising impressions and affiliate clicks, alongside lower sales and enquiries.
How many sites are currently secure?
As Google has been pushing websites to make the change for a number of years through incentives such as ranking boosts, many sites are already secure. It is estimated that more than 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is protected, with 78% of Chrome traffic to Mac protected.
How will Google Chrome warn users that a site is not secure?
The browser’s address bar will feature a prominent warning on all HTTP websites to warn that the site is insecure. The aim is to encourage more website owners to upgrade their site to HTTPS, by educating visitors and helping them to understand the differences.
Will there be a warning on mixed content pages?
The announcement from Google did not directly address whether pages with both secure and insecure content will display a warning message. Although, it is likely that due to the presence of some insecure content the warning will be displayed to visitors. The browser will use the Chrome Lighthouse web page auditor to identify if the website elements are triggering a mixed content warning. The tool is designed to assist developers in establishing which elements of the site need to be upgraded to HTTPS.
The worldwide impact of a HTTPS warning
Although the warning messages will affect some countries more than others, the use of Google Chrome is so widespread that it is likely to affect a substantial percentage of internet browsers. The countries with the highest percentage of traffic through Chrome are South America and Israel, where Chrome represents 74.04 percent and 66.77 percent of traffic respectively. Within the UK, 40.75 percent of internet users use Chrome, so it is expected to have a large impact on the traffic to many websites.
Should you upgrade a site to HTTPS?
With a definite date quickly approaching, all web publishers should be considering upgrading their site to HTTPS. If you would like us to migrate your website from non-secure HTTP to secure HTTPS please contact us for more information.