After years of encouraging site owners to transition to HTTPS by default, Google officials say that the effort has begun to pay off. The company’s data now shows that more than half of all pages loaded by Chrome on desktop platforms are served over HTTPS.
Google has been among the louder advocates for the increased use of encryption across the web in the last few years. The company has made significant changes to its own infrastructure, encrypting the links between its data center, and also has made HTTPS the default connection option on many of its main services, including Gmail and search. And Google also has been encouraging owners of sites of all shapes and sizes to move to secure connections to protect their users from eavesdropping and data theft.
That effort has begun to bear fruit in a big way. New data released by Google shows that at the end of October, 68 percent of pages loaded by the Chrome browser on Chrome OS machines were over HTTPS. That’s a significant increase in just the last 10 months. At the end of 2015, just 50 percent of pages loaded by Chrome on Chrome OS were HTTPS. The numbers for the other desktop operating systems are on the rise as well, with macOS at 60 percent, Linux at 54 percent, and Windows at 53 percent.
Google’s push for more encryption has begun to bear fruit in a big way.
“As the remainder of the web transitions to HTTPS, we’ll continue working to ensure that migrating to HTTPS is a no-brainer, providing business benefit beyond increased security. HTTPS currently enables the best performance the web offers and powerful features that benefit site conversions, including both new features such as service workers for offline support and web push notifications, and existing features such as credit card autofill and the HTML5 geolocation API that are too powerful to be used over non-secure HTTP,” Adrienne Porter Felt and Emily Schechter of the Chrome security team said in a post on the new data.
The most notable laggard in Google’s data is Android. Just 42 percent of pages loaded by Chrome on the mobile OS are over HTTPS, showing that there’s still quite a bit of work for site owners to do on mobile pages.
Google hasn’t been alone in working to make large-scale changes in the amount of encryption implemented on the web. Earlier this year, WordPress enabled HTTPS for the more than one million custom domains that are hosted on WordPress.com.
Image: Stephen Shankland, CC By-SA license.