Ok, so here’s the deal about http versus https, in layman’s terms:
https sites have their identity confirmed. It’s like Anne Hathaway being carded to confirm she’s really her and not just an absurdly good look-alike trying to get free drinks at the exclusive club.
Why does this matter? You’ve heard of phishing, right? When a site poses as another site to steal your password or credit card information? Right? Good. So, this poser phishing site, it can look the same, even down to the url in the address bar, thanks to super sneaky technology. This is like being an Anne Hathaway lookalike who actually changes her name to “Anne Hathaway” to fool more unsuspecting bouncers. https is our defense mechanism against this, a technical way to confirm the identity of the site you’re visiting to ensure it’s the real deal.
But my site doesn’t even take credit cards! Why should I pay for a security certificate when I don’t ask for sensitive information?!
This is a really awesome question. As a website-owner for an informational site (like an online brochure, where you might have a menu, services, a contact form, etc- but you’re not selling anything or even using passwords for visitor logins), technically it’s not required. HOWEVER, starting several months ago, google (Chrome and other browsers are not far behind) are starting to slap you with a HUGE OBNOXIOUS INSECURE SITE WARNING that basically is horrible for your bounce rate and makes your public trust you less.
So, even if you’re not dealing with sensitive information, it behooves you to pony up the $50 and get the little shield to the left of your URL. It’s just good for your reputation and user experience, if nothing else.
But I’m a cheapo and I don’t want to pay for it!
I feel you. I, too, am a frugal small business owner. That’s where the heroes at open source ssl come in. Mosey on over to letsencrypt.org for a totally free* security certificate for your site. *It just takes a little technical know-how to install it.
Hey wait, I’m no tech wizard!
Right right, that’s my job. I can help you get setup (free for members on my maintenance plans, affordable hourly rate for others). You can also contact your host for support- but be prepared for them to sell you their own service before helping you install the open-source option.
Whelp, hope this helps you feel less confused about why the little exclamation point started showing up in your site’s url bar and with some ideas about how to fix it (and why it’s important).
Need more resources or just want to pick my brain on the nitty gritty details? Book a free 30 minute consult and we can talk out your particular situation, totally no cost and no pressure.