Google is about to crack down on websites without an SSL Certificate and Dedicated IP.
Effective January 2017, Google will begin labeling websites that collect confidential information as non-secure unless they are protected with a dedicated IP and SSL Certificate.
So, first off, let me just say that the sky is not falling and in fact, these Google changes are actually nothing new. Google themselves have long looked at & rewarded SSL protected websites more preferentially in SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages). Rather, they are just now starting to implement an algorithm change to put this policy into effect.
What is an SSL Certificate?
Official: SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.
In laymens terms: An SSL certificate legitimizes your website by keeping form submissions secure and ensuring potential customers you’re safe to do business with.
What is a Dedicated IP?
Official: A dedicated IP (Internet Protocol) is a unique Internet address dedicated exclusively to a single hosting account. This is in contrast to the normal configuration of several hosting accounts residing on a single server and sharing its IP address.
In laymens terms: A Dedicated IP gives your website a real bricks and mortar location (not one that is shared with others) in cyberspace.
Why do I need both an SSL & Dedicated IP ?
An SSL certificate can only be installed on a dedicated IP – so pairing the two locks in the secure connection.
How do i know if my website already has this?
You can simply go to your website and add an S after the HTTP up in the url bar then hit return. If you see nothing, you don’t have it. If you see your website, you’re all good! There are also a number on online SSL Checker tools to help confirm.
So what does this mean for me?
Basically, you need to add on to your existing hosting plan in order to play the game with Google.
How much will this cost?
Well, a dedicated IP runs generally only a few dollars per month, depending on your hosting provider. The SSL certificate will generally run anywhere from $70 – $100 or so annually. At the time of writing, I see that GoDaddy has an SSL promotion running (including a dedicated IP) for just $5.99/yr (saves $94 now and then renews annually at $69 US/yr!) – Wow! And no, this is not an affiliate link, just a freebie tip.
Is this something I can do myself?
You can start the ball rolling yourself, yes – simply by calling your hosting provider, and telling them what you need. They will then actually need to install everything to your website (no charge for their time) and it should be completed, typically within 24-48hrs or less. After that, you’re up & running !
What happens if I don’t install this?
Google will label your website as non-secure. Would you purchase something from a non secure website?