What is an SSL Certificate and Why Does Your Website Need It?

Written by SarahS

27th November 2019

What is SSL?

SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer” and is a standard protocol used to protect information transmitted online between a website and a browser.

When a website is encrypted with SSL, information you submit to that website cannot be intercepted by third parties. This ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remains private.

A site that has SSL will be identified in the web browser address bar with a padlock and https rather than http.

An insecure site
An insecure site.

secure URL
A secure site with padlock.

 

Why you need SSL

A few years ago having an SSL Certificate for all websites became important, now it is imperative.  In the past, if your site collected user data then you would definitely need an SSL Certificate.  Now they are recommended for ALL websites.  Here’s why:

Google now penalises sites that do not have a certificate so you may find your website is lower down in the search engine rankings.  In addition, most browsers, such as Chrome, will also not now only warn you of sites that do not have SSL but actively persuade you not to visit them.

On the plus side, if you do have an SSL Certificate then potential users are much likely to trust and visit your site rather than a site without one.

SSL Certificates were historically too expensive for basic websites and small business owners but now the prices are much more reasonable and can even be free*.

So if your site doesn’t have an SSL Certificate already then you may be losing visitors.  Contact me for more information about how to secure your site.

*All hosting accounts with me currently come with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate that automatically renews every 3 months.

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