What is an SSL Certificate and does my website need one?

 

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a security method which allows for the encryption of data when being transferred over the internet.

Typically, when you submit a form on a website, the data is sent as plain text which potentially leaves you and visitors to your website vulnerable to hackers. SSL certificates help to protect the transfer of sensitive information, such as personal data and credit card details, by encrypting it during transmission between the user’s browser and the web server.

Having an SSL certificate is your way of telling visitors to your site that their information is safe with you - an excellent way to boost trust. It’s a level of web security that isn’t just "nice to have" anymore - SSL encryption is essential for boosting security for your website users.

How do I know if a website has an SSL certificate?

The easiest way to tell, is to check the URL in the address bar. Websites using SSL always start with HTTPS as opposed to the unsecure HTTP. Depending on the browser you're using, there are also other visual clues like a green padlock, as shown below in Google Chrome.

SSL Certificates 1

Other than improved security, are there any other benefits?

Yes. If you’re an online business, there are other benefits too in using HTTPS instead of HTTP:

Improved Google Rankings

Search engine optimisation (SEO) helps your website climb to the top of Google’s search results. It’s a combination of optimal web design, site content, keywords, speed, links and security. Google announced (back in 2014) that it would give a higher preference to websites that have an SSL certificate installed. Using HTTPS can increase your rankings in the search engines.

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html

Improve online sales

If you’re selling online, then increasingly your shoppers will check to see if you have SSL. Without it, they might not even stay long enough to see what you have to offer. Having an SSL increases your chances of gaining and retaining customers who come to your website.

Google has recently announced they will be flagging websites without SSL certificates in their Chrome web browser. If your website visitor is using Chrome and visits your website, they may get a message stating that your website is not safe. This is a big turn off for people - nobody wants to risk sharing information online if they’re not sure it’s secure.

How do I get a SSL Certificate on my site?

Purchasing and installing an SSL certificate has a small cost associated with it, and the certificate needs to be renewed each year. If Gravity Digital produced and/or host your website, please get in touch with us and we can set up an SSL certificate for you and look after ongoing renewals.

If you have a website that has been built by another web design company, get in touch with them and ask them to install one. Alternatively, if you’ve built your own site, get in touch with your hosting company.

If you are thinking about having a new website, then make sure you get an SSL certificate in place for the launch.

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like any more details.

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