Mixed Content – What Is It? Why Is Google Blocking It? What Can I Do?

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Mixed Content – What Is It? Why Is Google Blocking It? What Can I Do?

Starting in early 2020, Google will begin blocking “mixed content” on their Chrome browser. Chrome is currently used by 70% of desktop users so if your site has mixed content on it, now really is the time to fix it, or you could end up losing nearly three quarters of your traffic.

But Wait! What is “Mixed Content”?

Content online is either delivered over a secure, encrypted HTTPS connection (the S stands for secure) or an unencrypted HTTP connection. When you use an HTTPS connection the encryption means that the information can’t be spied on or altered by a third party, making it a necessity when transmitting sensitive information such as credit card numbers or private data.

The web has slowly been moving over to HTTPS and Google Chrome itself says that its users now spend 90% of their time browsing via HTTPS connections. You may have noticed that Chrome now warns you if you connect to an HTTP site.
But not all sites are entirely HTTP or HTTPS, and this is known as “mixed content”. Commonly this is when a page itself is delivered over an HTTPS connection but elements (such as images, audio or video) are pulled in to the page over an HTTP connection. Fixing mixed content is an important element of optimising your site’s content for search engines.

This means that although the page itself cannot be tampered with, elements on it can be. It might sounds a bit James Bond but imagine you are a stock investor looking at a chart of stock prices that has been loaded via HTTP, someone could have intercepted that image in transit and altered the prices. Unlikely? Perhaps, but Google has seen fit to crack down on mixed content pages starting this December.

Timeline

Don’t worry though, it’s not all happening at once, Google is giving developers time to adjust. Below is a timeline of how this mixed content blocking will be rolled out.

December 2019 –
Chrome 79 will be released, adding the option for users to block or unblock mixed content.

January 2020 –
Chrome 80 will be released. All mixed audio and video resources will be auto-upgraded to https://, and will be blocked if they fail to load over https://. Users will still be able to manually unblock them if they wish.

February 2020 –
Mixed images will be auto-upgraded to https:// and blocked if the cannot be loaded over https://.

I Think My Website Has Mixed Content, What Do I Do?

If you haven’t started already, you need to start migrating your mixed content to avoid your website breaking, being blocked or displaying ominous warnings to its users.

If you’re not sure if your website has mixed content or are unsure how to fix it, speak to one of our team today. We’ve helped dozens of companies migrate their sites from HTTP to HTTPS and can do it securely, safely and quickly – with as little downtime as possible.

Carden Digital