What is an SSL certificate and why do I need one?
Most people will be aware that their web browser sometimes displays a little padlock beside the address of a website. The address bar itself occasionally turns green, while the HTTP prefix in web addresses often becomes an HTTPS prefix instead. These are all visible signs that an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate has been activated, adding greater security and protection to any sensitive or financial activity conducted over the Internet.
Normally, the data we send and receive online is sent through individual packets that could potentially be viewed by anybody. An SSL certificate is a small data file that adds a complex security key to communication between the host and recipient computers, preventing these packets from being viewed by anyone else. This secure connection can, therefore, transmit passwords, financial data or sensitive personal information safely and discreetly.
What does Google say about it all?
Up until the end of 2016, installing an SSL certificate was not always recommended. In general, e-commerce websites were required to be secure, but most marketers and developers would have agreed that a non-secure HTTP website was sufficient for running a blog. So what has changed?
Google announced that from January 2017 the Chrome browser would show any HTTP sites as non-secure when certain information is being asked for on a site. This would start with payments and passwords, and would then be applied to other forms of data entries.
Types of SSL Certificates
There are varying degrees of security certificates, and depending on what type of website you have, the correct one needs to be applied. For example, e-commerce websites must all have an SSL certificate. It would be unthinkable to enter all of your personal and payment information on a non-secure site. If your site wishes to receive payments directly via credit cards, you have to let your bank carry out a security analysis of your website, and they will only issue the certification if all security measures are met. The liability of any security breaches you will have also vary greatly.
Why Not SSL For All?
First of all, if your website does not sell anything or require any data entry, you don’t really need an SSL. Secondly, if your website is not commercial and you are just starting out, you might not want to spend part of your budget on a certificate nor on a developer to install it and create the necessary HTTP to HTTPS redirects.
If you do decide to install an SSL certificate, make sure it is done properly. Installing it means the URLs of all of your pages have changed from HTTP to HTTPS. For search engines, this is effectively a different website. So to preserve your website’s SEO credentials, all of the necessary redirects from the previous HTTP pages to HTTPS need to be put in place. If this is not done properly you will lose all of the existing HTTP links, meaning your domain authority and search engine rankings will disappear. You need to preserve the old links to retain your search results standing. Imagine you have some big brands linking to your site; by switching to secure you could lose them all. That’s definitely not the way to go.
How do I get one?
This is where we can help. We can install an SSL onto your existing site (or new build) and even offer a free website security check to let you know if there any possible vulnerabilities within your website.
To take advantage of the current 50% offer we have on SSL certificates or for some free advice then simply get in touch.