Is There a Workaround for the Physical Web for Sites That Don’t Have SSL?

We have previously written how Physical Web URLs must use SSL and a URL shortener. A common support question is whether there’s a workaround for existing sites that don’t have SSL. Some people ask whether using a shortener that has SSL will solve the problem. Well, it won’t. It’s the final pointed-to site that must have SSL.

Your first consideration should be why your site doesn’t use SSL yet. SSL is starting to be part of Google search ranking and is much easier (and free) to implement since the introduction of Lets Encrypt. SSL also protects your users such that they (and you) know they are really connecting to your site and not a man-in-the-middle copy.

However, let’s say the you can’t get SSL added, for example if the site belongs to your client/customer.  What can you do? Here are some tips.

  • Think about whether there are any other sites that already reference your target site. For example, most companies have a Facebook page that provides SSL. Put the Facebook URL into a URL shortener and you have a workaround. The information the Google Proxy picks up (and shows in the notification) is ok and shows your Facebook page information as opposed to something about Facebook.
  • Consider using an intermediate web page that has SSL that contains information and a link to your non-SSL page. You can do this using a platform such as Beeem that provides shortening and a small web page you can edit. Alternatively, you can create a free page at blogger.com which recently started supporting SSL. Put your blogger URL into a URL shortener and you have a workaround.

UPDATE: We now offer our free EddystoneCMS