While SSL has been around for just about as long as the web itself, 2017 promises to be a landmark year for the technology. With public availability of free SSL via Let’s Encrypt deploying this year, adoption of SSL has skyrocketed.
There’s no longer any need to wade through complex product sheets, evaluate costs of different providers or weigh up certificate X over certificate Y. Let’s Encrypt now allows near instant SSL activation at zero cost for the entire web.
We’ve been offering 100% free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates to all users of our Professional Hosting, Business Hosting and WordPress Hosting plans since this summer – and we’ve seen an enthusiastic response from our clients in return.
If you haven’t yet taken advantage of free SSL security on your website, we strongly encourage you to do so before 2017. For anyone watching, Google has been been making very positive noises about SSL encrypted sites for quite some time now, going as far as to confirm that https:// enabled sites get some small boost in SEO search rankings. Google very rarely comments on the specifics of its ranking algorithms, so to come out publicly and confirm SSL activation counts as a positive SEO ranking signal is huge.
This alone should convince any site owner it is be worth their time getting Let’s Encrypt activated and installed right away; after all who doesn’t want more site visitors? In 2017 though, things are going to start ramping up even more. Confirmed last month on their security blog, Google announced further plans to promote and push SSL adoption, through updates to their hugely popular Chrome web browser.
The initial Chrome updates will focus on sites that handle sensitive data such as credit cards or passwords, but over time, the browser will begin reporting every http:// as insecure. As of September 2016 statcounter.com estimates that 62% of all desktop based search is conducted through the Google Chrome browser; that means if you’ve not transitioned to SSL, some time during the next 12 months, a significant portion of your site visitors will be told by their browser that your site is insecure. The impact to your traffic and visitor retention, especially in today’s security-conscious web world, is likely to be dramatic.
And don’t expect things to end there. I’d wager that Google will continue on this path, their message has been clear and consistent for some time now: SSL is good and they’re going to keep pushing the wider Internet to adopt the technology. Expect Google to become more aggressive in promoting SSL sites over non encrypted ones as we move through 2017 and beyond.
And to be clear, there’s no reason to not use SSL on your site. Let’s Encrypt is 100% free and deployment is automated through our control panel. The certificates auto-renew every three months and are automagically re-deployed each time via our account managed systems. All you have to do is click a single button and let us take care of the rest.