Why Your Website Should Have an SSL Certificate

You know your website is a safe place for your visitors, but do they know that, too?

If your website does not have an SSL certificate (one that is properly installed), you may be losing potential clients and customers who would rather spend time on a site that appears more trustworthy.

SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layer, is an encryption technology used to create a secure connection between a web server and a user’s web browser. SSL certificates are used to secure data transfers, credit card transactions, logins and other personal information. They provide security to customers and make visitors more likely to stay on a website for longer periods of time.

As part of their “HTTPS Everywhere” Initiative, eventually Google will be “calling out” all websites that have http as “unsafe” in its browser, Chrome.

In January 2017, Chrome version 56 began marking sites that transmit passwords or credit cards as non-secure as part of its long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure. The warning will become more prominent as time goes on.

“Eventually, we plan to label all HTTP pages as non-secure, and change the HTTP security indicator to the red triangle that we use for broken HTTPS,” Chrome Security Team member Emily Schechter said in this Google Security Blog post.

Aside from the obvious trust factor, Google prioritizes websites with SSL certificates for better search engine rankings. If you want an easy boost on your SEO, getting an SSL certificate is definitely a way to do it.

When an SSL certificate is properly installed on a website, a small green padlock icon will be displayed to the left of a website URL in the browser and https will appear in green as well. (Some browsers may display a gray padlock; the example below is in Chrome.)

Additionally, if you click on the padlock, you will see a message ensuring that the connection is secure:

On the other hand, if your website does not have an SSL certificate installed, clicking in the same area will yield a message like this one (the url has been obscured):

You can purchase an SSL certificate through your hosting provider. Once that is done, certain changes need to be made to the website files to solve “mixed content” issues. Until these issues are resolved, the green (or gray) padlock won’t show. Contact your hosting provider for more information.


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