What is an SSL Certificate and Why Does Your Business Website Need One?
In 2017 all business websites should have an SSL Certificate. If you’re not responsible for the upkeep of your website you may not be very familiar with this term. However, as an internet user, you’ll be familiar with the green padlock symbol that you see next to website URLs in your browser window. The green padlock signifies that the website you are visiting is secure. That is essentially what an SSL certificate does. It used to be the case that only e-commerce websites that took online payments needed an SSL certificate. Not any more.
Websites that do not show an SSL certificate now display a warning to their visitors to say that the website is not secure. And that’s not good for business! As a business owner or manager you need to understand what an SSL cert is, why you need it and how you can get one. The following FAQs will help you get to grips with SSL certificates in a matter of minutes. After reading you’ll know what steps to take next. You could even have an SSL certificate on your website by the end of the day.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Its purpose is to create a secure (encrypted) link between your visitor’s internet browser and your website server.
What this means is that the data shared between your visitor’s browser and your server remains secure. It confirms for the user that they are connecting with your real website and not a fraudulent website.
Why do you need an SSL Certificate?
If you don’t have an SSL Certificate the data on your website is vulnerable to hacking. Clearly not good for business!
Displaying an SSL Certificate establishes your status as a reputable business and engenders trust in your customers.
SSL Certificates also improve Search Engine Optimisation. Google wants all businesses to have SSL Certs. As the SEO game goes – Play by Google’s rules and your search engine ranking will be rewarded!
Websites with SSL Certificates load quicker. This is good news for user experience and also gives an additional boost to your SEO, since Google favours fast-loading times.
What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
You may have noticed that some websites begin with HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and others start with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). HTTP is the unsecure connection (without SSL) and HTTPS is the secure connection (with SSL).
HTTPS is what you want for your business because it tells your customers your site is secure. The way you get this is by adding an SSL certificate.
Why do I need to get an SSL Certificate sooner rather than later?
As I mentioned above, SSL Certificates were previously only essential for ecommerce sites or sites where sensitive information such as credit card details were being shared. However, this all changed in January 2017 when Google began implementing a gradual plan to mark all http sites as “Not Secure”.
Since January 2017, Google displays your HTTP site as non secure if the website has credit card or password forms.
The next step in the plan for HTTP websites is being implemented in October 2017 when Google are adding two more “Not Secure” situations:
When a user enters any data.
When users browse in Incognito mode.
Eventually Google will simply show “Not Secure” for all HTTP websites.
So, now is the time to get your SSL certificate sorted.
How do I get an SSL certificate?
There are different levels and types of SSL Certificates. Although some websites can obtain free SSL certs, others will need to purchase theirs with prices ranging depending on your website’s needs. In general, it is a fairly inexpensive one time cost that is far outweighed by its benefits.
SSL certificates can be purchased from your hosting provider or an independent provider.
How do I add an SSL certificate to my website?
If you have a web developer or web design company who looks after your business website then they will be able to purchase and install your SSL certificate for you.
Another option is to get in touch with your hosting provider and see if they will sell and install the SSL cert for you.
Alternatively, if you look after our own website then SSL DIY is also possible and fairly quick and easy to do. You’ll find lots of guides specific to your website platform online.
So there you have it – everything you need to know about SSL certificates in a matter of minutes! So now you know what they’re all about you can go ahead and get one for your website and reap the benefits!