SSL is no longer optional for your website.

Your website should most likely be labelled with “Not Secure”. What does it mean, and how do you get it fixed?



Background

Nearly two years ago, Google announced that Chrome would eventually start marking all sites that are not encrypted with HTTPS as ‘Not Secure’ as an attempt to motivate site owners to improve the security of their websites.

On July 24th 2018, Google officially launched Chrome 68 and with it rolled out the warning labels on all websites.

Chrome is a widely used browser accounting to about 80% based on statistics by W3Schools, where their website receives 50 million visitors a month.

What do these labels mean?

As seen above, there are three (3) types of labels.

i) Not Secure

This means that you do not have an SSL certificate installed on your website. I’ll explain what that is, and how it helps in a bit.

ii) Secure

This means that everything is good – and you don’t need to do anything more.

iii) Notice

This usually means that while the site itself is secured, there may be some content that has been loaded on the website which is not secure. If you’re getting this, your website developer or webmaster will need to fix it. The most common things that cause these are external links using http:// instead of https:// or preferred simply as // to support both.

Some examples include:

  • External images shown on your website.
  • External links to javascript files such as jQuery.
  • External links to CSS files such as Bootstrap.
  • Embedding of Google Fonts, Analytics and pretty much any other services.

Note that, using https:// on any of these require the external service/server to have a valid SSL installed on their end too!

What does Secure mean?

Any communication over the internet could either be secured, or not. A secured communication means that the data that is received or transmitted is encrypted which prevents prying eyes from looking at it.

Let’s say – you’ve typed in your username and password on a website. If that information, when sent over the internet is not secure – then anyone between your computer — and the server/service — could potentially “see” that data. However, if the website is secured, then the same information is encrypted making it extremely difficult for someone to see it.

Should I care if my website doesn’t have any login forms?

Yes, you should. Login forms are just one example. Maybe, you have a contact form where you ask your website visitors to fill in a message to reach you. The information that they type in there would be transmitted insecurely which could allow someone to see it.

SSL is no longer optional. Add SSL to your website today to avoid losing visitor confidence and sales. Plus, with SSL you get all these benefits too:The other benefits of having your website secure include:

  • More secure user experience
  • Protect user privacy
  • Increased conversions
  • Boost search rankings
  • Increased user trust
  • Show you care about users’ data

How do I secure my website?

You’ll need to get an SSL certificate installed for your website. This could be done by yourself, your webmaster, website developer or your web host.

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL is short for “Secure Sockets Layer”. It was introduced in the mid 90’s as a protocol to secure traffic. While SSL itself is depreciated, the newer versions of SSL protocols are actually known as “Transport Layer Security” (TLS). The certificates however are still commonly referred to as SSL certificates.

An SSL certificate is used by the browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge to establish trust, validate that it is valid with a Certificate Authority (CA) and use it to encrypt the communication between you — and the server/service that you are communicating with.

These certificates are issued by Certificate Authorities (CA) who vet and issue the certificates. There are a few types of SSL certificates:

  • Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificate
    Domain Validation SSL certificates are the cheapest provided by well known SSL brands. They are also freely available through Let’s Encrypt, a free – automated – and open certificate authority sponsored by big names in the internet industry.Free SSL certificates are also included in some hosting plans offered by web hosting companies like Extreme Web Technologies. They are ideal for basic security for websites and blogs, and are usually issued in minutes.
  • Organisation Validation (OV) SSL Certificate
    Organisation Validation certificates are slightly expensive as have some documentation processes required such as verifying your organisation legal information. The certificate authorities usually ask for your business incorporation documents, as well as physical address and sometimes identities of website/business owners. These are always purchased separately — and are a must have for serious businesses. These could take about a week to be issued, sometimes a bit more.
  • Extended Validation (EV)

    Extended Validation certificates are the most expensive certificates available. They could cost unto $2000 per year and go through extended validation processes including credit checks. These certificates also include a special feature supported across browsers which makes the address bar green showing your company name. These certificates are a must have for internet banking portals, as well as other applications to ensure user trust in the service. These certificates take the longest time to be issued, generally between 2-4 weeks.

I have a certificate, but my website still shows Not Secure when accessed.

When website visitors type in your website link on the address bar, they end up on the non-secure version of your site. You may need to consult your website developer or hosting company to assist you with this. 

How to fix Not Secure on WordPress.

If your website is built on WordPress, then the simplest way to make the switch is by going to your WordPress Admin (wp-admin), under the Settings > General screen, update your WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to include https://.

How to fix Not Secure on my website which is NOT built on WordPress.

This will work on pretty much any basic website on cPanel hosting, such as the hosting plans offered by Extreme Web Technologies.

Log into your cPanel, find the File Manager, under public_html folder, look for a file named .htaccess and edit it. If it doesn’t exist, you can create it and paste the following snippet.

Make sure to update your domain name in it:

# BEGIN SSL
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain\.co\.tz [NC]
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.yourdomain.co.tz/$1 [L,R=301]
</IfModule>
# END SSL 

I’m stuck and need someone to do this for me.
Please contact our customer happiness team at Extreme Web Technologies to assist you get your website secured.

This blog post was written by Mohsin Sumar (@mohsinsumar) who is the Founder and CEO of Extreme Web Technologies. Mohsin with his Customer Happiness team constantly strive to deliver top notch quality web hosting in Tanzania.

Image credits: Creativeart – Freepik.com

Improve your company’s productivity in 2016

Along with the entire customer happiness team at Extreme Web Technologies; I wish you a Happy New Year 2016!

As 2016 sets in, its time to put those new year resolutions in effect. Did your new year resolution include improving your productivity as a business? If not, make sure to list it down because your employees could be wasting 24% of their day on useless email.

Useless email are SPAM emails that clutter our email inbox every day. It may be cheap for spammers to send SPAM, however, it is very costly for a business on the other end. The following costs are usually associated with SPAM emails:

  • Productivity loss, or waste of time of your employees in reviewing and deleting spam emails.
  • The cost of anti-spam technology.
  • Wasted storage and server resources.
  • Internet data.

Here’s a report from one of our customers account using professional spam filter. They have seen an improvement of 35% emails being blocked by the filter. Think about it for a second, how many is 35% on the report below? That’s 25,000 emails blocked over 3 month period.

Spam Filter Report for 3 Months

 

Improve the productivity of your business by using a professional spam filter. For a limited time, DOUBLE your storage when you add professional spam filter to your account! Contact us by sending us an email to support (at) extreme.co.tz for more information.

Improve your company's productivity in 2016 with professional spam filter.

This article was first published on Extreme Web Technologies Blog. This article was written by Mohsin Sumar (@mohsinsumar) and serves as the Technical Director of Extreme Web Technologies. Mohsin with his Customer Happiness team constantly strive to deliver top notch quality web hosting in Tanzania.

.tz Marketing Workshop

I attended a marketing workshop representing Extreme Web Technologies, top performing .TZ accredited registrar on 10th & 11th December 2015 which was organised by tzNIC in collaboration with ICANN. It was held at BOT Conference Room and facilitated by Bob Ochieng and Ali Hussein Kassim.

The workshop aimed to share and provide necessary business skill-sets as well as exposure to the domain industry players to the participants which comprised mostly of .TZ registrars, as well as representatives from various academia, government bodies and students.

The workshop came at a time when African continent of about 1 billion people is striving to grow the ccTLD domain business from about 1.3 Million domains that are in use today.

Key questions that were discussed at the workshop included what should be done to change the situation? What can the ccTLD manager and registrars do to grow the .tz domain business in Tanzania? And finally, what other stakeholders should do to propel the .tz domain name industry?

I was also a panelist of a discussion where we discussed various ways to market the domain business through raising awareness of .tz domain by educating small & medium sized businesses on the importance of their online presence, the need of personalised email addresses and more.

Why we do not offer unlimited hosting

This blog post was first published on Extreme Web Technologies’ Blog.

We come across many customers who are looking for unlimited hosting. This article is aimed to explain why we do not offer unlimited hosting, and why you shouldn’t look for a host that does offer unlimited hosting.

Unlimited hosting is a marketing gimmick, that claims to give you unlimited resources: disk space, bandwidth and features at a very cheap price which is governed by their fair usage policy buried somewhere in their fine print.

Say, for example, you spent millions of shillings planning your campaign, getting all the creative right, and started your marketing campaign only to find out that your website is suspended by the fair usage policy.

A fair usage policy is put in place to ensure that you are not overusing the server resources. You may be hosting a website that consumes a small percentage of CPU for a couple of seconds every time someone visits your website. And when your site starts getting a lot of visitors, you may start seeing your site become sluggish as the server becomes busy. In such cases, a web host may decide to suspend your site for sometime to make sure their other customers are not affected.

On a shared hosting environment, one server is setup to ideally accommodate between 250 to 500 hosting websites. A web hosting company can only provide you with unlimited hosting when they are overselling it. This means that they are actually hosting 2 – 3 times more accounts on a server.

Realistically, there is nothing like unlimited hosting! If you think about it, your hard drive has a capacity limit, your internet bundle has a capacity limit, everything has some sort of limit which makes “Unlimited Hosting” limited too!

Finding a good host may be slightly more expensive than the unlimited ones, but you are rest assured to get what you are paying for. When you are looking for a new web hosting company, you should be looking at the following three things:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • What their customers think of their support?
  • What are their uptime statistics?

Top Notch Quality Web Hosting since 2004

Extreme Web Technologies has been providing top notch quality web hosting since 2004 with exceptional 24/7 friendly customer support. 

We monitor all our servers through a third party monitoring service which probes our servers through out the day. We have an uptime report of over 99.5%!

Our entire team is notified when an outage is detected, and everyone is hands on deck to ensure the server is back up & running as soon as possible. In the event of a downtime, we have a backup mail servers that holds your emails waiting to deliver it as soon as the server is back online.

Experience customer happiness with us. Check our hosting plans here and read the testimonials of our happy customers.

What do you think of unlimited hosting? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Editors Note: This article was written by Mohsin Sumar (@mohsinsumar) and serves as the Technical Director of Extreme Web Technologies. Mohsin with his Customer Happiness team constantly strive to deliver top notch quality web hosting in Tanzania.

Sponsors of Veterani Sports Club – Gezaulole

Mohsin handing T-Shirt of "Extreme #1" to Goalkeeper
Mohsin handing T-Shirt of "Extreme #1" to the Goalkeeper of Veterani Sports Club - Gezaulole, Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam on 21st May 2010.

Earlier this month, on the 21st May 2010 – Extreme Web Technologies sponsored a local football club called Veterani Sports Club in Gezaulole, Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam.

We sponsored new jerseys, shirts, shorts, socks, goalkeepers gloves, referee uniforms, accessories and most important of all – footballs.

You can see me handing over T-Shirt of “EXTREME #1” in the photo on the right.

Click here to see more photos of this event in Extreme Web Technologies Facebook Page.