There was a time when you only even knew what SSL was if you ran an eCommerce website or online store. Today, more and more people know what SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is or at least know that it is “something” that creates a secure connection between a website visitor and the server through which to send information. Some people would recognize it when seeing a “lock” symbol in the browser when doing online shopping or doing online banking.
SSL is what encrypts the communication between the person who is browsing the website and the website’s server. All data/text submitted either way is encrypted. This way any prying person or software can’t see anything in this connection because it’s encrypted in real time. You have to be able to decrypt it with a “key”. Nowadays keys are very strong so it is very hard to hack. You can notice you are using SSL in a website when you have to use HTTPS in the address bar.
Since 2014 search engines, lead by Google, have started using HTTPS connection (or SSL protected connections) as a ranking factor for websites. The intention behind this is to make the web safer for users and fight against the increasing and growing pain of hackers and malicious groups in the web. The idea is that if a site is legitimate, then the owner will purchase an SSL certificate to protect the site, and any data that is possibly captured. Most SSL certificate issuers ask for some type of authentication/validation from the website owner before issuing a new certificate.
Does this mean you need an SSL certificate to run a website? Not really, but it’s strongly recommended. For example, starting in 2017, WordPress is going to offer some features that require having SSL, which means that some of the things in WordPress will not work unless you have an SSL certificate installed on your website. You can rank higher in search engines if you have one, and overall, you are protecting your visitor’s information.
An SSL certificate is not that complicated to get. You have to find an SSL certificate vendor and pay for it. Then you need to follow their provided instructions to get it running. It usually requires uploading a file generated from your server that contains all the information of your organization. The provider will then give you another file (the certificate) which gets installed on your server and you are done! You can get one installed and running in a matter of a 30 minutes or so. Some certificates may take longer or need more information if you get one that offers more protection.
If your website is not using SSL, you should consider installing one, especially if you are looking for to obtain better rankings in search results or if you want to protect your visitors.
If you don’t know where to get started, need help or just don’t have the time to install an SSL certificate, we can help you out. We can walk you through the entire process, and advise you on which type of SSL certificates you may want to get.