SSL Certificates – The importance of a Secure Website

We have had a lot of questions recently from customers and potential customers about secure and unsecured websites. The main thing being asked is “why is mine not secure” and “why is this important for my website”. In this blog, we are going to break down the importance of an SSL certificate and a secure website.

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate provides secure Internet. It protects your sensitive information as it connects you and customers across the world wide web.

The certificate is essential for protecting your website. It provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your websites and your users’ personal information.

How does an SSL certificate work?

Your SSL certificate provides an encryption on data coming in and data going out of your website. The certificate validates the website can be trusted before you access it. When a web browser contacts your secured website, this certificate enables an encrypted connection. It’s like putting a letter in an envelope before sending it through the mail, it stops everyone else from looking at it.

How important is an SSL certificate for my website?

In short VERY! But here are 5 reasons why the certificate is important.

1. Internet Browsers want you to be secure!

Google has made it clear for years that it wants websites to be secure. Since Google Chrome has become the most used browser with 61.75% (StatCounter November 2018 ) it has a big driving force on how well your website can be accessed through its browser.

Browsers are moving to mandate encryption, and they’re doing this with warnings of increasing severity. By moving to an HTTPS site you will avoid warnings coming up before people access your site.

2. An SSL certificate meets PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance standards

If you want to securely process credit card payments with proper encryption, an SSL certificate will open the door to instant payments and higher profitability. In other words if you have no SSL certificate you will not be able to process credit cards.

3. An SSL certificate promotes customer confidence and trust

Many people are becoming wary of sites that are not https protected regardless of whether they are purchasing off that website or not. They are more likely to go to a trusted site that stay on yours. 

4. SSL ensures the information goes where it is intended.

If you have a contact form on your website then you also need an SSL certificate. This provides the contact form with encryption so that the data goes where it is meant to safely without intrusion.

5. An SSL certificate improves SEO

Search engine optimisation is what gets your site to the top of Google’s search results. To stay on Google’s good side add a certificate to your site. We have done current SEO testing that has shown an improvement in google rankings by 3 pages just by adding an SSL certificate.

In Google’s view, “we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web”. Google recently announced that having an SSL Certificate is the easiest thing site owners can do to boost SEO ranking.

I don’t sell anything or collect personal information – Do I need an SSL certificate?

One of the main reasons for your website is to get noticed online. If Google is telling you that you will get noticed more by being secure, you should listen. By not becoming secure your online presence will be compromised and you will find that your online presence is pretty much invisible.

As the joke says – “The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of google”.

Can I be sued if I don’t have an SSL certificate?

As far as we are aware, nobody has been sued for not having an SSL certificate. The certificate authorities have said it is bad practice to not have a certificate. However, experts say that if you sell products or gather information on your website then legally you aren’t likely to win the battle once you get sued if you don’t have an SSL certificate.

How do I get an SSL certificate on my website?

Setting up HTTPS on your website is very easy, just follow these 5 simple steps:

  1. Host with a dedicated IP address
  2. Buy a certificate
  3. Activate the certificate
  4. Install the certificate
  5. Update your site to use HTTPS

If you have a web host then they can do this for you. Most will do this as an extra charge. Your SSL certificate can last between 90 days and two years. Most web hosts will offer auto renewal services.

Have any more questions? feel free to leave a comment and we will answer the best we can.

Pink Square Media is a marketing company that specialises in online marketing. The information provided is correct on the date of publishing. 

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