Scaling Your Ecommerce Business With Cloud Hosting Services

You’ve probably heard that cloud hosting is better than shared because it offers better disaster recovery, more security, server monitoring, automatic software updates, and flexibility. All of that is true. Cloud hosting occupies a paradigm above shared hosting.

Right Scale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Report found 95% of respondents are now using cloud technology as their preferred enterprise strategy. It’s popular because it scales up resources on demand, so many firms have found it makes sense to host their e-commerce website in the cloud.

Shared hosting cannot scale up your resources as needed (bandwidth is a particularly critical item), and with the cloud, you only pay for what you use. The availability of on-demand resources makes cloud hosting essential if you plan to scale your e-commerce business.

Cloud hosting supports all other efforts to scale your business

Scaling your e-commerce business requires strategy and planning to ensure your growth is supported by available resources. For example, many e-commerce businesses achieve growth by outsourcing a good portion of the development.

According to, plenty of well-known, large startups owe their success to outsourced development, including Slack, Skype, Klout, Github, Basecamp, and Opera. Outsourcing tasks to teams in other countries empowered these firms to build their infrastructure at a fraction of what an in-house team would have cost.

The money saved by outsourcing allows for faster development and expansion, and more funds are available for non-negotiable expenses. When you expand rapidly on a shared hosting account, you’re one traffic spike away from a crashed website and lost sales, unfortunately.

Shared hosting means a provider places multiple users on one server with finite resources. Shared servers can be powerful machines with 16 cores and several hundred gigs of RAM. That’s a powerhouse with plenty of resources, but providers often assign too many users to one server, and that limits the number of resources available to each website.

Scaling an e-commerce business requires available server resources

Availability of server resources to support the demands of a growing website is imperative. Your website exists as files on a server, and when someone accesses your website, that server’s resources are called up for use.

Traditionally, servers have had finite resources. Servers are computers, after all. On a shared hosting account, you’ll have access to only one server with finite resources.

When you get a surge in traffic — the way you might experience during a Black Friday sale — if that traffic demands more resources than your provider wants you to use, your site will crash.

Cloud hosting avoids this risk by connecting multiple web servers so your website can draw on the resources of a cluster, not just one. This prevents any single server from crashing and can keep your website up during periods of unexpected heavy traffic.

In other words, cloud hosting providers want you to have access to more resources when you need them. Your e-commerce website needs to be available 24/7 to customers, especially during special sales and seasonal jumps. Cloud hosting is the solution to make that work.

Moving away from shared hosting will save your business

Shared hosting plans are cheap. Some cost as little as $3.95/month, provided you’re willing to pay for three years up front.

If you’re running a small site and don’t have to process payments, shared hosting might be all right. When you’re running a professional e-commerce store and have plans to expand and maybe even dominate your industry, shared hosting could hurt you.

How shared hosting hurts your e-commerce business

  • Shared hosting isn’t really “unlimited. Shared hosting plans have appeal. They’re sold as “unlimited” because the provider knows most websites won’t use a fraction of the available resources. But there is a limit to the number of resources one account can use, if demand spikes. These limits can usually be found in the hosting provider’s Terms of Service agreement. When you exceed your limits, you won’t get a friendly email reminder; your host will shut you down and your customers will wander elsewhere.
  • Watchdog scripts meant to preserve resources actually kill your business. Many shared hosts have a watchdog script installed to monitor the resources used by each account. They run additional scripts to kill user processes when they’re using too many resources. This sounds like a good way to preserve resources, but if you’re running a business, it translates to lost sales. For example, if your website is using too much RAM, the script will terminate your processes and serve 400 “Bad Request” or 500 “Internal Server” browser errors to your visitors. Some scripts terminate processes even when the account isn’t using anywhere near its fair share of the server’s resources. It can be an arbitrary call made by the hosting provider’s automated algorithm.The bottom line is, you can’t scale an e-commerce business on a server that could make your website unavailable when you increase your traffic and are poised for success.

How Skylands cloud hosting supports your e-commerce business

  • Access to more resources on-demand. Instead of monitoring resource usage and cutting you off, cloud hosting monitors your resource usage and allocates more resources as you need them. For example, say your traffic spikes after you’ve sent out an email promotion. A cloud hosting account will recognize that spike in traffic and call up extra resources to prevent your site from going offline, and it happens automatically. With Skylands cloud hosting, you can promote deals any time without worrying that a successful promotion might crash your site.
  • Pay for what you use. With traditional hosting plans, you pay for all the resources to which you have access, whether you use them or not. For instance, if you want to have additional resources available in case you need to cover holiday traffic, you have to pay for them year round. With cloud hosting, you pay for additional resources only as you use them.
  • Disaster recovery. If anything happens to your website, offsite backups are waiting to take over and preserve your online presence.

How cloud hosting helps you scale your business with load balancing

Load balancing is a process that uses an algorithm to distribute incoming traffic across various nodes to minimize the impact on any one resource. Load balancers also monitor the health of resources to ensure they’re sending traffic only to healthy instances. If any instance is overburdened, traffic gets directed elsewhere.

The more your business grows, the more traffic you’ll receive. Your web server needs to be able to keep up with those demands. Cloud hosting won’t let you down.

Ready to move to the cloud?

You’ve got a business to run. You need a reliable host that won’t shut you down when you start to expand. Contact Skylands today and we’ll answer all your questions about cloud hosting and why you should make the move.

Reasons You Should Move From Shopify To Magento Platform

Setting up an e-commerce website on any platform takes a significant amount of time and effort. No matter how easy a platform is to set up, they all have administrative control panels that have a unique structure for adding categories, products, and prices. For many people, Shopify is an e-commerce option that looks deceptively easy.

In recent years, Shopify has become a popular choice, powering more than 500,000 businesses in 175 countries around the world. Although, a platform’s popularity doesn’t equal a merchant’s success, as many Shopify users are beginning to find out. With extremely high fees, inflexible payment processing requirements, and designs that can’t be easily customized, business owners are looking for other solutions.

There’s one solution that’s always been an option, though it’s been pushed to the backburner in light of the demands for a hands-off approach to e-commerce. That solution is Magento. Not only has it been around longer than Shopify, but it’s also more powerful and doesn’t leave business owners frustrated.

You might be opposed to switching from one platform to another since you’ll most likely need to rebuild your product catalog from scratch. That’s understandable. Given the long-term benefits of moving to Magento, it’s worth the effort to migrate. The longer you wait, the harder it will be later on.

If you’ve jumped into using Shopify without understanding its limitations, here are several good reasons to move to Magento sooner than later:

Magento is an open-source platform; Shopify is closed

The biggest difference between Shopify and Magento lies in the ability to access the source code and customize it. Shopify is a closed platform with templates written in a proprietary language that can’t be customized at the root. Shopify used Ruby on Rails to build its template language called Liquid, but you or your website developer will need to learn a new, complex language to customize it.

Magento is built in PHP, one of the most common programming languages there is. Anyone who knows PHP can customize a Magento theme, or create one from scratch.

In Shopify, you can’t access any more than what the developers allow. You can access basic HTML and CSS for your pages, but you can’t get further than that. With Magento, you can access everything.

Inside the Shopify admin panel, you can only customize certain elements with preset options. For example, you can change the color of your theme using preset layouts, adjust minimal typography elements, add your header and footer images, and slightly adjust several other elements. You can’t create your own custom theme from scratch, or customize a basic Shopify theme to your exact specifications.

For an extra fee of $17.99/month, on top of your regular monthly fee of $29-$299/month, Shopify will allow you to customize products in ways that should be available for free. You have to pay to customize products with unlimited options like dropdown menus, text input fields, radio buttons, and checkboxes. You have to pay an extra fee to implement per-option pricing that determines the price of your product based on the options selected (ex: size, color). Without paying this fee, you can’t make bulk changes to products, create option templates for later use, or define fields as optional or required during checkout.

Magento, on the other hand, is fully customizable from top to bottom. Open source software has publicly available source code that can be modified by its users. Most open source software is continually being improved by multiple developers, and new updates are shared with the public.

Open source supporters claim the software is more useful and stable because the creators aren’t concerned with financial gain. The developer community collaborates to fix bugs and improve features from a broader perspective. As developers customize open source software, it helps the creators understand what people want, and they’ll often build those features into the software on the next release. This ensures the software continues to evolve according to what users want. That’s precisely the journey Magento has taken over the years since its first release in 2007, and why it’s packed with features you won’t find with Shopify.

Shopify is bad for SEO

Having limited access to files places severe limitations on your ability to implement basic SEO strategies. If you don’t do your own SEO, you’ll be in for a big surprise when your marketer tells you they can’t help you because you’re using a closed platform.

Here are some of the biggest ways Shopify impedes your ability to implement standard SEO strategies:

  • Access to robots.txt is blocked. This file tells search engines which pages to crawl, and which to skip. Unfortunately, you can’t decide which pages should be skipped – Shopify decides that for everyone.With Magento, you can create a custom robots.txt file and instruct the search engine spiders as you please.
  • Access to .htaccess files is blocked. Access to the most important configuration file for search engine optimization is blocked by Shopify.With Magento, you have access to and can create .htaccess files as you wish. If you’re not familiar with their use, your developer can create and edit them for you.Every serious e-commerce business owner needs access to their .htaccess files. This is a directory-level configuration file that allows you to override certain server configurations in ways that make your site more visible to search engine spiders. Editing your .htaccess files can give you cleaner, SEO-friendly URLs, turn 404 errors into 301 redirects, and increase the caching capacity of your website, which brings up the next point:
  • Shopify doesn’t support browser caching. One of the most important strategies to implement when using a dynamic content management system like Shopify is caching.Since dynamic templates are pieced together on command, pages take more time to load than static HTML.Slow loading pages critically damage your site’s SEO value, so webmasters speed up page load times by caching dynamic web pages (as long as the content doesn’t change often). Visitors are served a static, cached version of those pages rather than dynamically generated pages. Unfortunately, Shopify doesn’t support browser caching.Magento is a dynamic content management system that fully supports browser caching.
  • Product pages are difficult to get indexed. Due to the product URL structures for most Shopify themes, search engine spiders can’t find the canonical URL within the normal parameters of your site, outside of the sitemap. This results in product pages not being indexed. There’s a way to fix this, but it requires a lot of work that just isn’t necessary with Magento.
  • You don’t get FTP access. If you’ve never had FTP access to your website, you don’t know what you’re missing. Using an FTP client to access, update, and upload your files is faster than messing around with your control panel’s file manager. File managers limit the number of files you can upload/download at once, while FTP allows you to highlight all of your directories to download it at once.A self-hosted, and even most managed installations of Magento will give you FTP access to your site.

Experience the flexibility of Magento in a hosted environment

If you’re looking for a powerful content management system that won’t wall you off from your most critical files, Skylands has several options for Magento hosting that won’t let you down. We can get your Magento site performing at top speed, so you don’t have to worry about losing SEO value. Contact us today to find out how we can help you make the switch.

Top 7 Magento Extensions You Should Be Using

Extensions add functionality to your Magento site that you won’t typically get out of the box. The right extensions will increase conversions and generate happy, loyal customers. Here are seven extensions you should be using.

#1 Subscriptions

You’ve probably noticed some Amazon product pages ask you to “subscribe and save.” The product is available for a one-time purchase, but you’ll get a discount if you subscribe to a regular delivery (such as monthly, bi-monthly).

A subscription discount is a highly effective marketing strategy that encourages consumers to commit to future purchases. It works well with products consumed on a regular basis such as protein powders, nutritional supplements, coffee, and just about anything people might purchase on a regular basis.

Statistics show the majority of consumers are looking for a good deal; about 93% use at least one discount code during the year. Subscription discounts make obtaining a discount even easier.

The Subscriptions extension from Web Solutions NYC allows you to:

  • Offer a customizable subscription schedule; customers can choose which day of the month to reorder
  • Designate subscription products
  • Transparently display the minimum cancellation time on both the product page and in the cart
  • Restrict subscriptions to specific customer groups
  • Create custom terms

#2 Free Shipping Threshold

“Free shipping on orders over $30” is a great marketing strategy, but customers aren’t good at keeping track of their totals as they add items to their cart. At checkout, if their purchase totals only $29.95, they’re apt to be annoyed.

Web Solutions NYC’s Free Shipping Threshold extension displays the remaining purchase amount needed to get free shipping. This helps customers reach their goal and also encourages people to purchase more items.

Tip: Take the price of your most popular item, add ten percent, and round it off to the nearest five dollars. Make that your free shipping threshold to encourage people to make additional purchases.

#3 Quick View

The quick view feature is something more theme developers ought to include in e-commerce templates. This Quick View extension shows customers the details about a product without taking them off the category or search results page.

With one click, a pop-up displays product information and the option to “add to cart” in any quantity selected. The customer can see the options for all variations, including color, size, and customizations. They can also click through to the product page if desired.

You choose how much information to display in each pop-up. For example, you could display all product details, including the full description, and even product reviews. Or you could display just the summary.

The pop-up supports all product actions, including:

  • Add to cart
  • Browse images
  • See samples
  • Add product rating
  • Add product review
  • See product reviews and ratings
  • Add to compare
  • Add to wishlist
  • Email to a friend

Consumers are inconvenienced when they have to navigate back to their search results page after perusing a product. Twenty-eight percent of shoppers abandon their cart when the purchase process is inconvenient.

Making product information available to customers without forcing them to leave the search results page makes the process convenient, and will reduce the rate of abandoned carts on your site.

#4 Tax Jar

Many companies commit tax errors in their first year in business. The most common mistake is the failure to collect sufficient sales tax.

The Tax Jar Sales Tax Automator extension automates the amount of tax you collect based on current rates calculated by the SmartCalcs API. Rates are updated monthly.

When tax time rolls around, you’ll be able to sort the tax you’ve collected by state, county, city, or zip code so you can file properly. If you’re running an Amazon or eBay store, you can use this extension on those platforms, too.

For an additional fee, Tax Jar will file your state sales tax return for you each month, quarter, or year. The great news is this extension comes with a 30-day free trial, so what have you got to lose?

#5 Abandoned Cart Email

Abandoned carts are a significant source of lost revenue. Although not all abandoned carts can be turned into a purchase, some can.

Multiple marketing statistics show an average cart abandonment rate of 69.89%. Consumer surveys reveal that 58.6% of U.S. shoppers abandon carts because they were just browsing or comparing prices.

The remaining 11.29% of abandoned carts likely occur for other reasons, usually attributable to a difficult checkout process, hidden shipping costs, or being required to create an account. All these factors are within your control.

The Abandoned Cart Email extension automatically sends a follow-up email to remind users they left an item in their cart. Not everyone intends to abandon his or her cart, so this extension may help you recover lost sales.

Some key features of the extension:

  • Customizes the email schedule
  • Generates coupons to encourage checkout
  • Allows customers to unsubscribe from reminder emails
  • Admin users can disable customer groups from receiving reminder emails
  • Reminders can be automatically stopped when the customer visits or clears the cart

Statistics show 29% of abandonment reminder emails result in sales, so you can’t afford to skip this extension.

#6 Shipping Restrictions

Businesses can be held liable for shipping products to locations where those items are illegal. You can also be held liable for shipping items without the required restrictions.

For example, during the Obama administration, laws were passed that made it generally illegal to send cigarettes through the mail, with a few exceptions. If your product is age-restricted in other states, you’re responsible for controlling sales in accordance with local laws.

It’s impossible to keep up with individual state laws since they change frequently. The Shipping Restrictions extension equips you to create a list of banned zip codes, states, and countries where your product can’t be delivered.

That way, you may control shipping only to the locations you can be certain the products are legal. As soon as users enter their address, the extension lets them know the product carries shipping restrictions. This happens before they can finish checking out.

#7 URL Rewrite Index Optimizer

Magento’s default URL structure isn’t search-engine or user-friendly. The URL Rewrite extension makes it simple to create friendly URLs and optimize the process of re-indexing URL rewrites.

Friendly URLs will certainly boost your SEO efforts and give customers an easier time navigating your site. If URL rewriting seems too technical, read this introduction to URL rewriting published by Smashing Magazine.

Some highlights to be aware of include:

  • The URL should be relevant, appropriate, and memorable. For example, if your product pages follow a memorable hierarchy such as /category/product-name/, visitors will have an easier time navigating your site. They’ll know they’re in the right place.
  • A URL should contain relevant search terms. Google and other search engines take the URL into account when they rank pages. Readable URLs are consistently ranked as one of the most important components in optimization.
  • In a friendly URL, non-alphanumeric characters are replaced with hyphens to make it easier to read.

Rewriting a URL also requires the creation of redirects, but the URL Rewrite extension takes care of those for you.

Given a handful of vital extensions, Magento’s functionality can be expanded to support your marketing efforts and sales goals. Remember not to go overboard with extensions, though; too many can overload system resources.

Install only what you need. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but remember to deactivate extensions you decide not to use.

How To Make Moving To A New Webhost A Stress-Free Experience

Moving to a new web host, also known as ‘migrating,’ can be stressful regardless of how big your site is. The potential for lost or corrupt files is ever present. The bigger your site is, the harder it is to thoroughly test it before letting go of your old hosting account. You can’t hang on to your old account forever.

If you’ve never moved a website before, it’s important to know that a smooth migration requires more than transferring files. Careful planning is necessary to ensure the preservation of databases, backups, email accounts, cron jobs, and directory structures.

If all you have is a single directory with a few files, a quick transfer is all you need. When you have a large number of pages and databases to move, planning is essential.

To handle the intricacies of moving to a new host, here are some tips to make the process stress-free.

Back up your website – twice

It seems unlikely, but what would you do if your website backup contained corrupt files and you couldn’t get the originals because you already canceled your account? What if your .zip files are corrupt? What if your account is deleted in a power surge overnight? It happens more often than you think. That’s why we offer our customers disaster recovery services, but not every host does.

Backing up your website is essential regardless of how you’re migrating your site. For instance, you should backup your website even when your web host is using the cPanel to cPanel transfer.

Create a step-by-step written plan

Having a written plan with tasks you can check off is essential for a smooth website migration. There’s always a chance you’ll forget something, but you’re better off with a written list.

Rather than relying on a random checklist from the internet, take the time to write down, on paper, every step you need to take to complete your transfer. Your list should be a customized checklist. Internet checklists are an excellent place to start, so use them to your advantage but don’t rely on them as your only list.

For example, you might want to change your directory structure on the new server. You might want to wait until you’ve uploaded everything, or you may decide to manually create a new structure and upload files as you go. This process should be part of your step-by-step plan.

Your plan should include everything, even the small tasks like designating a “catch-all” for unrouted email.

Document the details

In addition to having a well-documented plan, you need to document your account details. Make sure to write down everything you need to recreate on your new server. For example, you’ll need to recreate all email addresses, cron jobs, and upload all databases. Databases can be especially tricky – document them thoroughly.

When you download all of your databases, you don’t automatically get a list of installation URLs. If you used one-click installation software in the beginning, you wouldn’t be able to identify your databases by name because you didn’t name them. You have to create a list for reference.

For instance, did you create multiple installations of WordPress? Unless you manually installed WordPress and chose a custom prefix, your databases will have the same prefix (wp_) followed by a number. This makes installations hard to tell apart.

To identify your WordPress databases, go into phpMyAdmin. Click on each database name in the list and navigate to the ‘options’ table. You’ll find the installation URL listed there.

For other automatically installed applications, you probably aren’t aware of the database prefix, either. You can find this information by using phpMyAdmin.

If you have more than one SQL database, document what domain and application each database belongs to, as well as the database usernames and passwords.

Check for cron jobs

Depending on the software you’ve installed, you might have cron jobs running that you didn’t create. Some applications automatically set up cron jobs and if you don’t replicate them in your new hosting environment, your website functionality will suffer.

Don’t update your nameservers too early

Update your nameservers only after verifying all files have been successfully transferred and you’ve set up all email accounts. Changing nameservers may make your email stop working temporarily, which means you won’t be able to request lost passwords if needed.

Without updated nameservers, you’ll need to rely on your new hosting account’s IP address to view your site. If you’re running WordPress, you might need to temporarily change the URL in your database to the IP address to navigate the site to verify it’s working. WordPress now uses relative URLs, so unless you change the URL in the database to your IP address, you can only navigate so far. Alternately, you can edit your HOSTS file to force your computer to look to the new server for the website.

Know your way around FTP/SFTP

You can edit virtually any file through SFTP, which comes in handy when you’re editing data through an admin panel and get locked out when you save your changes.

Practice using phpMyAdmin

As long as you have access to phpMyAdmin or something similar provided by your web host, you can change database names, usernames, passwords, and email addresses. This gives you guaranteed access to your site even if you lock yourself out of your content management system’s admin panel, which might happen during a migration.

For instance, say you’re using WordPress, and you’ve migrated all files and databases successfully. When you try to access your wp-admin page, you get a 404. Chances are, you haven’t changed the URL in the WordPress installation to point to the new domain. This needs to be changed in two places in the ‘options’ table. Normally, you’d change this while logged into your WordPress backend, but without access, you need to change it through phpMyAdmin.

Practice MySQL dumps and imports

If you’ve never transferred a database before, you’re in for a learning curve. Before transferring your actual website, install test software that uses a database and practice moving that over first. To learn how it’s done, follow this guide for migrating a SQL database between two servers.

Ask your new web host to initiate the transfer for you

Professional web hosts know how to transfer files and databases quickly and efficiently. If the process of migration seems too complicated, or the value of your site is too great to risk downtime or corruption, give it up to the pros.

Make sure your new host will meet your needs

Does your new host meet all of your needs? Would they customize a plan just for you? When you’re ready to experience web hosting at its best, contact Skylands Networks today for boutique website hosting services tailored to your specific business needs.

Why Your Website Must Be SSL Compliant

As internet technology evolves, website best practices transform from courtesies to mandatory elements. For example, firewalls were once used only by tech-savvy enthusiasts. Today, most people wouldn’t dream of using a computer without a firewall. With cybercrime on the rise, providing an encrypted connection has become one of many security elements visitors have come to expect.

Website security is a big deal. Every bit of data transferred across a network is susceptible to being intercepted mid-transfer. While encryption can’t prevent hackers from stealing data, it does ensure stolen data remains unreadable. Encryption uses a complex algorithm to scramble data streaming across a network, making it unreadable by anyone without a decryption key.

Secure Socket Layer encryption, or SSL, is a high-level encryption standard that uses both asymmetric and symmetric keys to authenticate data and secure it. SSL uses a public key from the website server and a private key from the user’s browser. Since both keys are needed, an SSL certificate is a package of information that delivers a public key to the user.

Once a secure connection is made, all data transfers are constantly encrypted in real time by something called a cipher. This is where the word “decipher” comes from. When you decipher data, you convert it into normal language.

When an SSL encrypted connection is terminated, so is the private encryption key; a new key is generated for each connection. To learn about SSL encryption in-depth, check out this Beginner’s Guide to SSL.

Website encryption has been standard for a while, but some website owners have been dragging their feet. If you haven’t given serious consideration to securing your website with SSL, here’s why you can’t put it off any longer:

SSL protects your visitors from identity theft

You care about your visitors – they’re the reason you’re in business. Protecting their data from hackers should be your number one priority.

Chances are, visitors submit some kind of information through a web form on your website. It could be a simple signup form, an account login page, or a complete e-commerce transaction requiring credit card information. All of this data is susceptible to theft and should, therefore, be encrypted.

It makes sense to encrypt an e-commerce website that handles credit card information, but what if you don’t sell anything on your website? What if you run a blog, and only collect email addresses from your followers? Even if your visitors only submit their name and email address, that transmission needs to be encrypted because hackers piece together information from various sources to eventually steal someone’s identity.

All visitor data needs to be protected

Any website with user accounts should use SSL encryption to prevent account information from being stolen. Stolen account information is how cybercriminals obtain enough information for identity theft.

Against good advice, many people reuse passwords for multiple accounts. Once a hacker has an email address and a password, they’ll use that password to gain access to other accounts they can find. Most user accounts have a personal profile where people provide links to their other accounts; it’s all low hanging fruit for the cybercriminal. If your website visitor uses the same password for their Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts, leaving their data unencrypted could cost them more than a compromised account.

Protecting your visitors’ data is no longer the only reason to use SSL. Browsers are starting to monitor and inform visitors of the presence of SSL encryption, and Google officially made SSL encryption a search ranking signal.

Using SSL makes you look better and rank better on Google

On August 6, 2014, Google reinforced its commitment to making the internet secure by informing webmasters everywhere that the presence of SSL/TLS encryption is officially a lightweight search signal. At the time, Google said the signal would affect fewer than 1% of global queries, but they might strengthen it in the future to encourage website owners to switch to HTTPS.

Browsers are telling visitors if your site is secure

A securely encrypted website connection between a client (visitor) and the server (website) is what enables the use of the HTTPS protocol. Google not only gives more weight to websites using HTTPS, but its popular browser, Chrome, warns visitors when a website is not using HTTPS.

In September of 2016, Emily Schechter from Chrome’s security team published an announcement that Chrome was going to start labeling HTTP connections non-secure. A small information icon (i) with the words “not secure” are displayed to the left of the webpage URL in the address bar. As of January 2017, all HTTP pages, including ones that collect passwords or credit card information, are being marked as non-secure. In the future, Schechter says the HTTP security warning will be a red triangle with an exclamation point in the middle, currently used for broken HTTPS.

Firefox implemented a similar strategy to warn of password security vulnerabilities. When login credentials are requested over HTTP, Firefox gives a warning to the user by placing a red slash through a lock symbol in the URL bar. According to the Firefox security team, each page is checked against the W3C’s Secure Contexts Specification to determine whether it’s secure.

Firefox and Chrome are popular browsers, and these warnings may not look sinister today, but given time, they will evolve, and it’s only a matter of time before visitors start bouncing from unsecured websites.

SSL protects public Wi-Fi users unaware of potential threats

A secure browser connection prevents Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks, which are fairly common, especially on public Wi-Fi.

Unfortunately, consumers don’t realize the urgency of securing their own data over public Wi-Fi. Studies have shown that over 60% of Wi-Fi users believe their personal information is protected when using public internet. About 50% don’t know they’re responsible for securing their own data, with 36% believing it’s either the website owner or Wi-Fi providers job.

Although everyone should do their part to protect their data, at the end of the day, the website owner will take the legal blame if data gets stolen. Even when a consumer is careless with data security, they can sue a business for any data breach that caused them provable harm.

Get hosting from a provider that offers SSL

Your visitors depend on you to protect their data. You might not have SSL enabled, or you might find it difficult to implement site-wide. At Skylands, we offer SSL encryption and handle the setup for you.

Contact us today to find out how our fully managed boutique hosting can create a secure website connection for your visitors.