Users react badly to “not secure” websites: here’s how to avoid the backlash

Web users are put off by the “not secure” message on website URLs, according to a UK survey by agency John Cabot. This flag affects both user behaviour and perceptions of the brand.

“Not secure” websites

Since 2014, https has been a ranking signal for Google and since July 2018, HTTP has been marked as “not secure”. The survey revealed that 74 per cent of respondents “knew roughly what the warning meant”. 46 per cent said they wouldn’t enter their names or financial details into a website that wasn’t secure, and 64 per cent said they would leave the site instantly.

Other fears or concerns

  • Their device was exposed to a virus — 14 per cent
  • They had arrived on a fake version of the intended site — 12 per cent
  • The content was “unreliable and not fact-checked” — 9 per cent
  • Being signed up for spam email — 8.4 per cent
  • Many feared their search histories would be sold

With some exceptions, brand perceptions faced a blow. John Lewis, however, suffered far less than other brands, suggesting that in certain cases, brand strength and loyalty can overcome such an impact. The results imply that half the respondents weren’t concerned about the warning, but this isn’t something to simply dismiss. Ensuring your visitors that your website is secure can guarantee far more visitors. Here’s how to get started with getting your https certificate.

Talk with your web hosting provider to see what options are available for https

Many providers use software such as cPanel on some of their hosting plans to let subscribers configure their hosting services. cPanel normally has a feature to let the subscriber automatically receive a free certificate. Some of its competitors such as Plesk also have this option, but some of these may be running outdated software or have deliberately disabled this function, so be sure to check.

Many providers are already able to offer https, but it’s important that you check. You can contact them for guidance on whether your hosting plan allows you administrative access to the server.

Learn what system and software your server uses

If your hosting provider doesn’t integrate Let’s Encrypt but you do have administrative access to your server, don’t worry. You can use software for obtaining and installing a certificate. This depends on the software that is being used by your web server and the operating system it’s running on.

If this sounds a bit like gobbledegook, don’t panic. You can easily contact your web host for this information. If you do know this information, you can use websites such as Certbot to generate instructions on what to do next.

Too confusing?

Don’t worry, this is where we can help. At Search and More, we can help with every step of your website journey, including your https! Get in touch to find out more.

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