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Why the SSL Certificate Green Bar No Longer Exists

Updated on Feb 3, 2022

In case you have been using SSLs for a while now, you may have noticed that there has been a big change to something known as the “green bar.” To be more specific - it no longer exists. 

Major web browsers are constantly evolving. As part of their structure, SSL trust indicators are bound to do that too. Those trust indicators are the symbols and markers that appear in a web browser to indicate that the visited website has an SSL certificate

The most well-known SSL trust indicator is the padlock symbol. It can be found in the address bar of your web browser, just before the URL. Its place seems to be safe and secure (for now).

However, that’s not the case when it comes to the SSL green bar of trust. It’s no longer to be found, even if many users haven’t noticed yet. In this post, we will shed some light on the matter of why the SSL green bar no longer exists for good. 

What Was the Green Bar and Why Is It Gone?

Before it was removed, the green address bar used to indicate that a website has an Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate installed. SSL certificates can be divided into different types, with validation level referring to the number of background checks run on the company or person that owns the domain in question. 

EV is the highest level of validation, which requires physical proof (documentation) that a domain owner has to provide for the Certificate Authorities to show that the company requesting the SSL is a registered and legitimate business. 

The green bar displayed that EV certificate was present, boosting more trust in all visitors. When a user visited a website with an Extended Validation SSL, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox would turn the address bar green, as well as display the name of the company behind the website.

The first browser to stop displaying the green address bar was Safari, with Google Chrome to and others to follow soon after. However, even though Google removed the green bar with the release of Chrome 69 in 2018, it was still displaying company information in the address bar until a year later with the release of Chrome 77.

As always, Google did not let us wonder why the change was made and explained their reasoning for the change to be made. The Search Engine stated that “the Chrome Security UX team has determined that the EV UI does not protect users as intended.” They found that the display could actually do more harm than help in some cases. Additionally, wider security research indicated that it didn’t protect against phishing attacks as much as initially expected.

Will the Green Bar Be Back?

Considering the reasoning, the answer to this question would be “Not likely.” Google rarely do anything before putting the needed thought and reasoning into it. If they have decided to remove the green bar for good according to their extensive research, then that means it’s probably for the best, especially for website owners. However, users could also be victims too, for example, malicious websites copying the look of a green bar, giving website visitors a false sense of security.

In the years since the removal of the green bar, major browsers have almost stopped displaying trust markers entirely. Having an SSL certificate has become standard, and thus web browsers now alert users when the website they are visiting is missing an SSL certificate instead.

Nevertheless, communicating company information hasn’t disappeared entirely, you just have to do a bit more clicking to find it. Users simply have to click on the padlock symbol in the address bar to find out more information about who has registered the SSL and who owns the website.

It may be a bit confusing to people new to SSL when performing research on which SSL to get. It may appear that the SSL green bar still exists. Numerous websites advertise the merits of an EV SSL’s green address bar, which can be due to websites not updating their SSL details, as well as Google pulling information from old web pages.

Conclusion

It’s a fact that the green bar no longer exists. However, as we covered in the post - this is not a bad thing. The World Wide Web has simply evolved beyond its use. Web browsers were bound to find out that it wasn’t as effective as expected. The current focus is on HTTPS everywhere. That’s why it makes more sense that the focus is on alerting users when the website they are entering does not have an SSL, therefore is not secure.

Keep in mind that even without the green bar, an Extended Validation SSL certificate is still the best option for large companies or organizations. Visitors can still find the same information when they click on the padlock symbol. So, the level of trust is preserved.

Interested in getting an SSL certificate for your site, EV or otherwise? Check out the range of SSL options FastComet has to offer.  

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