If you spend any time on Facebook (which is highly likely considering their world domination), you have experienced the frequency at which they change their settings, leading many of its population to pulling out their hair in frustration over having to learn … yet again … how to update certain settings and use various features. While many solopreneurs wail “Why?” on their Facebook Wall when this happens, you need to accept that this will continue to happen and simply get on with what you need to do to keep your Facebook conversations alive and well with your target market.
And, no, this isn’t just a friendly warning that change on Facebook is constant, this is notification that Facebook is at it again. Facebook will require a valid SSL Certificate for all pages and applications hosted outside of Facebook. Huh? What does this mean?
I’m guessing you have these five immediate questions:
- What is an SSL Certificate?
- Why is Facebook doing this?
- How does this affect my (and my customers’) experience interacting through Facebook?
- When will this change happen?
- Where can I get a SSL Certificate?
An SSL (Secure Socket Layers) Certificate basically encrypts digital information, protecting private information. For example, if you shop or bank online, you don’t want your credit card numbers and your accounting information available for wandering Internet eyes.
Facebook wants to create a greater protection for your private information when you interact with apps and games that are hosted on other servers. The increase in security is a response to the evolution of more sophisticated spying programs seeking to grab your personal information.
How it affects you depends on how you use Facebook. Are you a casual commenter to friends and family, or are you a solopreneur using Facebook predominately for business? If you’re the former, you’re likely to see little change. I’m assuming you don’t have any custom tabs created for Facebook using iframe apps, so nothing to worry about there. You may have noticed when you visit other business pages or access games, Facebook prompts you with a screen asking if you want to switch over from a secure connection (with a https:// URL) to a non-secure connection (with a http:// URL). This already happens today, so you should be fine.
If you are a business-centric solopreneur on Facebook, you will need an SSL Certificate if you:
- Have embedded or linked content from your Facebook page to your website(s)
- Have Facebook content embedded on your website(s)
- Require users to log in to your website using their Facebook login info
And if you do get an SSL Certificate, you will need to update any links on your website to Facebook with the secure https:// URLs.
October 1. The time is coming soon. Considering you may have a number of links to update on your site, you should get started right away.
The good news is you may already have an SSL Certificate from the company that hosts your website(s). Some hosting companies provide it as part of their service. If it isn’t part of your service, you can purchase a certificate from them, typically for anywhere from $50 to $150 depending on the type of certificate. I recommend you speak with your hosting company’s customer service department to get started.
The bad news is for an SSL Certificate to work, you must have a static IP address. Some hosting companies issue their customers a variable IP address to help save space and money. If you need to purchase a static IP address, you will have an extra fee. Again, your hosting company’s customer service department will be able to help you with this.
You do have the option of not making any changes, but with over 600 million people on Facebook engaging multiple times a day in conversations with businesses and other customers, do you want to risk missing out?
If you want some more technical insight about this upcoming change, here is a post on Facebook’s Developer Blog.
All the Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide