Firstly, What Is SSL And HTTPS?
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate, or Top Layer Security (TLS), is a secure protocol that works on top of regular HTTP to provide security. It does this by creating a secure encryption key, or code, between your browser and the web server. This prevents your personal information and data from being intercepted by any computer in-between.
An SSL Certificate stores the name of the holder, as well as issuing authority, with a unique serial number. This acts as your ID card on the web, and allows users / servers to know that you are indeed who you say you are.
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is, as the name suggests, the secure version of unencrypted HTTP, which makes use of with SSL/TLS to deliver secure data.
With the release of Chrome 62 in late 2017, Google issued an update that now requires any website with a text input to have an HTTPS connection.
What Does An SSL Certificate Do?
1. It Encrypts Sensitive Information
An SSL Certificate creates an encryption layer that prevents external parties from getting between you and the server. Messages sent back and forth between the two are scrambled with this key, and are unreadable without it. This prevents other computers from getting hold of your credit card numbers, usernames, passwords and other sensitive information.
2. It Protects You From Cybercrime
Over time, cyber criminals have refined malicious scripts, designed to intercept and capture your data while it’s moving between destinations. The SSL Certificate makes this data unreadable to anyone other than the intended recipient.
If you don’t have an SSL Certificate on your domain, these criminals will find you and exploit all of your weaknesses.
3. It Boosts Credibility
Getting an ‘Insecure Connection’ warning when trying to visit a relatively unknown website can be quite alarming. Understandably, this deters many would-be visitors.
A small green padlock on the far left of the search engine address bar tells the user that the site they are visiting is secure and trustworthy.
Users now know that they can engage with your business more effectively, with the peace of mind that your site is a safe place for them to leave their information.
4. It Improves SEO Rankings
If your website does not have an SSL Certificate, you are unwittingly giving your competitors an advantage over you in the endless battle for optimum SEO rankings.
Last year, Google updated its algorithms to add HTTPS as a chief ranking factor. A secure website protects both the user and the website, so it only makes sense that search engines such as Google will give preference to websites who offer that security.
In the competitive online world, you want your website to be a verified source of relevant content.
What Will Happen If You Don’t Have An SSL Certificate?
If your website does not have an SSL Certificate, a number of things will happen. All of these will have an effect on the running of your business website.
- Google will flag 2/3 of the site as unsafe;
- Users URL bar will display a ‘Not Secure’ message to the left of their address bar;
- You may rank lower than your competitors on Google’s search results pages.
- Without any form of encryption on your data, cyber criminals can easily intercept your information as it is sent back and forth between site and server. Your sensitive information, and that of your users, will be put at huge risk.
How Do You Get An SSL Certificate?
If you don’t already have an SSL Certificate on your website, chances are very good that Google has already red-flagged it. Sooner or later, you will begin to see a decline in your website’s SEO performance.
Luckily, there are several trusted methods of acquiring an SSL Certificate for your website. Here are a few recommendations.
1. Let Us Handle It
By far the easiest way to secure your site is to let the professionals handle it. We’ll sign you up and integrate your SSL certificate for you. Contact us on 082 550 9763 or firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the adjacent contact form. Alternatively, you can visit our Contact Us page.
2. Let’s Encrypt
Let’s Encrypt is a free and trusted certificate-issuing authority that automates much of the sign up process to deliver an easy and painless experience. Just remember to renew your certificate every 3 months! www.letsencrypt.org
3. SSL For Free
SSL For Free piggybacks off the Let’s Encrypt ACME (Automated Certificate Management Environment) client and handles a lot of the hard work for you. www.sslforfree.com
4. Request One From Your Hosting Company
Whoever you host with, they are likely to offer this service for a small fee.