Google has been trying to get website owners to move their sites to HTTPS for years. The company started talking about the importance of it back in 2014, but it wasn’t until 2016 that they started flagging sites that hadn’t made the move. At that time, nothing was done to sites that remained an HTTP site, but Google did start sending letters and emails warning website owners that they soon would be. Fast-forward one year, October 2017 and Google has done it. Now any site that is not an HTTPS site will be indicated as such to users.
To understand what this really means, you first have to understand the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. HTTP stands for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’ and it is the main way web pages interact with web browsers. When a URL, or web address, is entered into any browser it has ‘http’ in front of it (or at least it used to). That command was then sent to the web server the website was hosted on and told it how to fetch, transmit, and display the web page located at the URL entered into the address bar.
HTTPS is very similar with the exception of course, that it has an ‘S’ on the end. This ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’ and indicates that the web page, and any information transmitted on it or through it, is secure. That means that the page cannot be hacked as any information on that page will be encrypted – or scrambled. When this command is given to the web server, it tells the web server that an encrypted transmission is needed.