In today’s digital age, with “hacking” becoming a term that all generations are familiar with, security is paramount to your website’s success. And one of the most common ways to protect your website is with an SSL Certificate.
WHAT IS AN SSL CERTIFICATE?
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate provides secure, encrypted communications between a server and a client, i.e. an internet browser, in the form of HTTPS. HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site.
You’ve likely seen an SSL Certificate before… you probably just didn’t know it (hint: it’s the little lock attached to your search bar). The URL to the website will also be prepended by “https://” instead of the usual “http://”.
WHAT PURPOSE DO THEY SERVE?
SSL Certificates are used to protect the information of end users. Most of the websites that you will find using an SSL certificate collect sensitive information from their end users, such as credit card information, Social Security Numbers or passwords.
For example, let’s say that you are purchasing a new computer from Apple.com. Because Apple’s site functions as an eCommerce site (they take online payments), they are required to use an SSL Certificate in order to protect their customer’s confidential information.
Without an SSL certificate, your sensitive information could be intercepted, eavesdropped, compromised, or stolen by cyber criminals.
WHY SSL CERTIFICATES ARE IMPORTANT
An SSL Certificate doesn’t simply protect your website and your user’s information, they also make your site “trusted,” they prove that your website, pages, and business are genuine—protecting against something called “man-in-the-middle-attacks.”
And now that Google provides a ranking boost for pages that are secure, SSL Certificates help with SEO rankings.
DO YOU REALLY NEED ONE?
If you’re a business with an eCommerce component to your website, an SSL Certificate is a requirement by law. In addition, it’s not a box you check when you make website edits or begin working on a new design. SSL Certificates need to be issued by a trusted Certificate Authority.
“We encourage you to adopt HTTPS (obtaining an SSL Certificate) in order to protect your users’ connection to your website, regardless of the content on the site.” — Google
Google has begun docking sites without SSL Certificates in search rankings and most recently, releasing the latest version of Google Chrome (58) which includes a new “checking mechanism” that analyzes the SSL certificate used by sites and provides a warning message before accessing those without one.
For personal sites, the trend would suggest that the (Google’s) sought after, across-the-board norm of all websites having an SSL Certification seems to already be underway. If you’d like help in obtaining an SSL Certificate for your site or are interested in building a site of your own, reach out and give us a call.