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Technical Penguins: The SSL Green Padlock and What it Means for Your Website
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SSL, the green padlock and you

Executive Summary

Beginning in October 2017, the Google Chrome browser began showing “Your connection to this site is not secure” warnings on almost all sites loaded over the http://, not https://, protocol. At the same time, Google dropped a boatload of money into Let’s Encrypt, a service that provides free SSL certificates (the thing you need to be able to serve a page as https), making it easier than ever to display the coveted little SSL green padlock in Chrome next to your URL, signifying your security compliance.

But even though the barriers to delivering a secure site might never be lower than they are now, there are still a lot of people struggling to “get to padlock.” We take a look at why it’s so important to be secure – even if you don’t think your website collects sensitive information – and offer some tips on how to get there.

Details, Tips, Recommendations & Takeaways

Look up in your URL bar as you’re reading this page. See the little green padlock next to our address? (OK, it’s white if you’re using Microsoft Edge and gray in Safari, but whatever.) That indicates Technical Penguins is serving its pages to you using https://, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. And what that means is, if we were to directly collect any information from you, you’d know it would be passed across the nebulous internet, from your browser to our database, in an encrypted format.

We don’t collect credit-card information directly. We pass subscription payments over to Paypal, which has long been secure. So why do we care about whether we can show you that nice SSL green padlock or not? Well, there’s a really long answer to that, but the short answer is: We care because nothing is more important to us than our clients knowing we are legit.

Want to really scare yourself? Spend a day reading the Google Security Blog. If it makes sense at all – and we’ll be honest, some of that doesn’t even make a ton of sense to us, and this is the kind of work we do all day, every day – mostly it’s just a good way to get terrified about all the ways there are for people to take your information and use it inappropriately.

And that’s why you’ve probably noticed that browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and a bunch of others have, as of Fall 2017, started flagging content not delivered over https:// as “insecure.”

Google probably doesn’t think your particular content website with no input fields except a search box is especially worrisome, by itself.

But Google knows that its users care, and it wants to make sure that anything it surfaces for them via search results or direct URL type-ins either meets a minimum standard (ideal) or, if it doesn’t, includes a “let the user beware” disclaimer.

In fact, there’s a great Google guide, Why HTTPS Matters, that gives an overview of why they care about ensuring encryption on websites they display.

So what does this mean for you, as a website owner?

Why an SSL green padlock matters to you

So, fundamentally, you're probably reading this guide because you (and/or many of your users) access your website in Chrome, Firefox or another major

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  • We will ensure your site is being comprehensively backed up monthly.
  • Full access to and use of the Penguin Pack, a smorgasbord of services and add-ons that can enhance your website. Features include image optimization, security, SEO, newsletter opt-in forms, even selling courses! This can replace some existing services or plugins you already use, and we'll get everything set up for you.*
  • 1 hour of work included every month
  • Includes access to all our white papers, with members-only recommendations and tips.
  • Includes an email newsletter on topics such as security, updates and website best practices.
  • 15% discount off regular hourly rates for scheduled work performed.

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