We all know who Google is, one of the undisputed giants of the internet. In these last few years, their image of an innovator and bleeding-edge internet company has somewhat shifted toward a more corporate image of a marketing company.
Still, no one can deny that the changes to their search engines, such as favoring websites with SSL certificates, have a beneficial impact on internet users’ experience.
The recent announcement has taken this to the next level, as Google said they will be blocking websites with mixed content, and we want to discuss what this means for your WordPress website.
What does Google consider mixed content?
We have mentioned above that Google favors websites that use SSL encryption, and yes, those are the websites that have an HTTPS in their URL, meaning Google is advocating for safe websites.
Statistics show that, by Google, Chrome users spend over 90% of their browsing time on safer (HTTPS) websites.
The mixed content is a term used to describe a non-https content loading on an HTTPS website, meaning this “safe” website may not be as safe as users may think.
What is the reason behind blocking mixed content?
The main reason behind this is that this insecure content on a secure website can lead to loopholes that can be exploited by hackers to manipulate users, install malware or even hijack a website.
Because Google Chrome cannot indicate whether a page is completely secure or insecure, they will instead block such content and keep the user safe.
What will happen with websites showing mixed content?
The official announcement has informed us that the next three Google Chrome releases will gradually implement increasing levels of mixed content blocking.
The December 2019 update has provided new settings options to the “Site Settings” where users will be able to unblock mixed content so that users are not disabled from using websites that have not resolved their issue.
Next, the January 2020 update will try to auto-upgrade video and audio file URLs to HTTPs and content that fails this update will be blocked.
Finally, in February 2020, Chrome will be auto-upgrading HTTP images to load over HTTPs. If it fails to load them over https, then those images will be blocked as well.
Consequently, this will create a poor user experience, and it will also affect your brand reputation and business as your website will receive a Not Secure icon in the address bar.
How to resolve your WordPress website mixed content issue?
Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers in the world and we would imagine that these changes will be accepted as default by other major internet browser software platforms very soon.
Bear in mind that these changes are still not fully implemented so there still is time to react, and the course of action needed is obvious – you need to finally and fully move your website to HTTPS.
For more elaborate websites, professional help may be due, though we would like to provide a quick guide to the issue remedy.
Use a plugin to fix mixed content errors in your WordPress website
The easiest fix is to use an appropriate plugin, such as SSL Insecure Content Fixer. After you have activated the plugin settings and choose either “Simple” or “Content” settings and click “Save changes”.
The “Simple” option uses fewer resources and has a lower impact on your WordPress website performance, and this is the one we would recommend for the first try.
Next, open your Google Chrome browser and visit your website, noting the “Secure” or “Unsecure” icon. If the icon is still “Unsecure” then go back to plugin settings and change setting to “Content” to have all of your content fixed.
We can agree that the plugin fix for the mixed content issue is relatively simple and elegant, while it concurred with Google intent of having a safe website.
In the specific case that the mixed content is loaded by WordPress theme or other plugins then you are not as lucky as others and will need to inform the developer for this issue and update software as soon as a fix is released.