Fright Night vs Confidence in your Website
As of October 2017, the presence of a small "s" in your URL will make the difference between causing alarm in your website visitors or confidence. Google Chrome web browser, which some 70 million people use, will update to a version that will place a "Not Secure" warning in the address bar of websites not using HTTPS. All will be normal as your website visitor takes a look around your website, normal that is until the visitor begins to enter information on a form. At that point the "Not Secure" warning will come up. The sudden appearance of "Not Secure" has the potential to scare off your website visitors. Website visitors are used to browsing the internet and going on websites without the "green padlock."unless they are entering credit card numbers and passwords, so their hair might stand on end if they see this warning when simply filling in a search form.
HTTPS vs HTTP
HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol and is the way computers transfer information on the internet. It's the way you visit websites and access information and the way your visitors find out about your organization or business. The "s" stands for secure. The way the computers connect is made secure through encryption. With HTTP, information traveling between your computer to another can be overhead. It's like being at a noisy party and talking with a friend. Your conversation won't easily be heard, unless perhaps it's a juicy piece of gossip, then it seems everyone has a ear tuned in and soon someone will overhear. With HTTPS the information traveling between your computer and another is encrypted. Using the noisy party analogy, encryption makes it so you and your friend are speaking only a language the two of you know. Sounds can be heard but not understood. No one can "hear" what you search for on a website or your name and email address you put in forms. If your website has a form on it, a search form, or simple contact form, soon your website visitors will have the "Not Secure" warning pop up on them if your URL does not start with HTTPS.
Happy Visitors vs Unhappy Visitors
Google is interested in providing the best user experience for people who use their search engine. They want people to find the information and websites they are looking for, ones that have great information and are secure, websites that will not end in the website visitor's information being overhead or intercepted.
In particular this can happen on unsecured WiFi. While passwords onto websites are usually encrypted free software now has made it possible to intercept cookies which may not be encrypted. With this software, another person can intercept and use these cookies to log onto the website, but only if the website is not secure with HTTPS. Google does not want to direct searchers to websites that are not secure and potentially could cause a lot of heartache. Google soon will rank websites without HTTPS lower.
What will your website users find on your website? Will a security warning greet them? or the green padlock of security? Will your website inspire fright or confidence?