From October 2017, Google has decided to show warnings on websites that come without SSL certificates. What does this mean?
If you run a business and have a website that accepts any kind of information through contact forms, you’ll need an SSL certificate. The alternative is having your visitors presented with a ‘This website is not secure’ message.
So what is SSL and why’s it so important?
SSL data encryption
SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is what the secure Internet is built on. If you have sensitive information whizzing around the global network, SSL will protect it.
SSL offers security, data integrity and privacy for both your users and your own site.
The key function of SSL is to encrypt sensitive information sent online so that it’s understood only by the person meant to receive it. That’s vital, because data you send over the internet is transmitted from one device to another before it reaches the destination server.
This means that every time it lands on a computer between you and its intended destination, anyone can read your usernames, passwords, banking information, credit card numbers, and anything else not encrypted with an SSL certificate.
An SSL certificate makes this data indecipherable to anyone apart from the recipient’s server. This keeps the thieves and hackers at bay.
SSL – a mark of trust
Visitors to your site can look on their web browser for visual information that your connection is secure. This might appear as a green bar or a lock symbol. When they see these icons, they’ll be more willing to trust your site and therefore more inclined to do business with you.
Having that S on the end of your HTTP will also offer security against phishing attacks. These are emails sent by criminals trying to impersonate your website. You’ll usually find a link in the email to their own website. It’s hard for law-breakers like these to get a legitimate SSL certificate, so flawless impersonation of your site won’t be possible.
Free SSL certificates from LetsEncrypt
The SSL certificates are not very costly, however, you can also utilise them completely for free: Let’sEncrypt SSL is the most popular open-source SSL certificate and is completely free of charge.
If your hosting provider offers LetsEncrypt certificates there is nothing stopping you from implementing SSL on your site. Providers such as WPEngine have this feature built-in so you can have your SSL certificate in a matter of minutes and completely free of charge.
In summary, the commercial benefits of having SSL are far greater than the disadvantages. While implementing SSL might cost your business a few pennies, you’ll win the trust of online visitors and buyers.
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