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Goodbye SHA-1, Hello SHA-2

At the forefront of all websites which use and store customer information will require some form of security. That’s a fact.

From January 1, 2016 the majority of browsers will start removing support for SSL certificates that use an outdated form on encryption: SHA1 (commonly known as “Secure Hash Algorithm”). Furthermore, it seems payment providers are also getting in with the act. SagePay have recently released a statement indicating that their services will only accept SHA2. The younger, better brother, of security – well until the next release comes along!

Why is it necessary?

Due to security concerns (and we know of a few recently!) over computing power, 1024-bit (SHA1) certificates have been coming under scrutiny invoking a move towards a newer and more secure data transmission which uses 2048-bit encryption.

Google Chrome (and similarly FireFox) is deprecating support for SHA-1 before the year is out. So the time to check and upgrade is paramount. All SHA-1 support will be removed by the end of 2016. Your site will continue to be served, but with that unruly error: “Your website is not trusted.”.

insecure

Hackers/attackers never sleep therefore system administrators should not either.

What do I need to do?

If you have a website hosted with us, be it shared or on a dedicated machine, rest assured we already have this protection in place. Your SSL renewal will take place as normal and there wont be an additional charge. If your renewal has just passed…don’t sweat it. You’ve already been taken care of.

If you are not a client of ours, not a problem – contact us on 0117 325 0091 or support@tickboxmarketing.co.uk to discuss your set up. Although if you do have a current server or hosting provider, your best option would be to contact them to see if you need to upgrade.

References

The need for speed in SEO

As expected, Google has announced that site speed – how quickly a site responds to a request – has become a factor in where your site appears in the search engine’s results.

Google is aiming to reward sites that offer a better user experience, saying: “We’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.”

The speed issue re-emphasises the need to ensure your site is built to the highest coding standards, and also shows the continuing way Google is shaping its search algorithm to reward usable sites – something that will continue to matter more and more in SEO. While the latest change to the algorithm will have only a minor effect overall, the move towards more intelligent measurement of user satisfaction by Google makes addressing all usability issues a more and more essential part of your overall SEO programme.

It also shows the importance of having a good hosting partner who offers superfast, low-latency hosting. Cheaper hosting – for this and many other reasons – can often end up costing you far more in the long-run than more expensive but higher quality hosting.